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Club Store Opening Provides a City Opportunity

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, April 16, 2008, at 02:32PM
new store Ed Fuentes

The City Employees Club of Los Angeles is prepping to open a retail presence at 120 W. 2nd street.

The City Employees Club of Los Angeles will soon be opening a retail presence at 120 W. 2nd street, in the space formerly occupied by Lofty Dog. According to Robert Larios, Communciations and Marketing Director for the Club, a May 1st Grand Opening is anticipated.

Along with discount tickets, the Club sells apparel and merchandise with the official insignia of the City of Los Angeles. Don't think that you'll be walking on the street and picking it up, though. Items bearing the city seal are available only to club members.

Started in 1928 as the Los Angeles City Employees Organization, recently the City Employees Club has branched out from insurance and into providing a variety of services to City employees. The new location gives the Club a presence near City Hall that it hasn't had before.

The city has been looking into the idea of creating a store that would sell officially branded merchandise for quite some time. In 2000 an ordinance was passed allowing the city to license the City Seal and logos for publicly-sold merchandise. A 2007 report by the Chief Legislative Analyst noted that, "To date, only minimal licensing has occurred."

The same report cautioned that a store set up inside City Hall, an idea put forward by Councilmembers Hahn, LaBonge and Perry in late 2006, would be unlikely to turn a profit.

Connecting the two together, it seems like there may be a bit of opportunity here that could benefit the city and the Club.

The city doesn't need to be in the retail business, and the Club already is. The location on the edge of the Civic Center and the Historic Core offers the potential for more foot traffic than a site inside City Hall could generate, while still being immediately adjacent. All that's needed is licensed merchandise the Club can sell to the public.

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