Jun 13, 2009
Riviera Village gift shop will stay open after allBy Kristin S. AgostoniDailyBreeze.com

In just about a month’s time, Michael and Royce Morales posted closing signs at their Riviera Village gift shop, marked down merchandise and said goodbye to customers as they prepared to shut their doors.

It was a sad several weeks, Royce said, but at least there’s a happy ending.

Buoyed by closeout sales, new business ideas and a deal with their landlord, the Lomita couple now say they are able to continue running Harmony Works, the eco-conscious gift store they opened 15 years ago on Catalina Avenue.

They shut down for a few days this week to remodel and rearrange the shop and then reopened Friday. The closing signs had been replaced with a new message: “We are staying.”

All that in “about a month,” Royce said, “a month of insanity.”

The Moraleses were prepared to become the latest casualty in the south Redondo Beach business district, which has lost several of its specialty stores within the past year.

The closure would have come just as Michael prepared to take over as chairman of the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce board – a position he accepted Friday night. He also serves as board president of the village’s Business Improvement District, which has overseen improvements such as new landscaping, decorative lighting and banners.

Both credit their loyal customers as one reason they were able to keep going. Because of successful sales, “we were able to take care of a lot of things,” Royce said.

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