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Meet Chris Geer of Urban Americana in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Geer.

Urban Americana, an Antique and Design Collective, is located in the heart of the newly rediscovered Zaferia Design District in Long Beach, CA. Our 16,000 square foot Mid Century Warehouse is filled with Vintage & Antique Dealers, Artisans and Vintage Inspired Goods. Our concept is to bring together like-minded, passionate, creative, small business owners who want to share a common space for the betterment of their businesses.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
For the most part it’s been a pretty smooth road. Financing the business through the first few years was tricky, but fortunately I had a collection of rare furniture I was able to sell which got the business to where it is now.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Urban Americana story. Tell us more about the business.
First and foremost we are a Vintage Furniture Store. Since we rent space to different dealers we don’t control the inventory. But right now, I would say we specialize in Mid Century Furniture because that is what is popular in the marketplace at the moment. If/when that trend shifts our inventory will likely adjust.

A large part of our plan is growing our online business which we have been working on since we opened. We currently have more than 5,000 products listed in our online store and we are shipping items daily to locations throughout the U.S.

I’m proud of the fact that we have created a destination in Long Beach where people come not only to shop but to gain inspiration, hang out, and generally just have a good time. We have events at the building with local bands, craft beer, and food from Working Class Kitchen across the street from us.

When I purchased the building, I put a lot of thought into the design and openness of the space. Most Antique Malls I would say have not done that, so that I feel sets us apart from others.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
That’s an interesting question because I was once lectured by a priest about creating our own luck. I don’t totally agree with that, but at times I suppose it’s true.

I feel lucky just to have the passion I have for Vintage & Antique items. I was brought up in a home that was filled with old things so I gained that appreciation at a very young age. And I feel lucky to have had a Dad who was an entrepreneur. I gained so much from just watching him through the years.

I made a decision to buy a building and start a business at the tail end of a recession and that turned out to be a risk that paid off. I don’t feel like there was any luck in that. I thought about it for many years and finally found the courage to take the leap.

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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