In the historical Long Beach “gayborhood” of Broadway Corridor rests Hot Stuff, a brightly painted LGBTQ+ gift store. Pink and black triangles grace the entrance of the store and pride flags of every color sit at the windowfront.
Named after disco diva Donna Summer’s hit song, Hot Stuff was established in 1980 as part of the Broadway Business Association to provide a safe community that was inclusive and LGBTQ-friendly.
“It all goes down to supporting our gay businesses, gay artists, gay entrepreneurs, to come up and be something,” owner Barbara D’Allessandro said regarding the communal relationship formed between businesses of the Broadway Corridor and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Following the AIDS epidemic during the eighties, D’Allessandro moved from the East Coast to take over Hot Stuff for her brother and his partner, who unfortunately passed away from the epidemic.
“There’s only a few of us left. And sometimes, you wonder how times have changed, where are they, those that have gone, you know? To appreciate every moment today, because it can be gone so quickly,” said D’Allessandro.
Since that point, D’Allessandro has been the sole showrunner of the infamously pink shop. With its charming rainbow-themed decor and cheeky novelty goods, Hot Stuff is a historical landmark that is here to stay.
Edited by: Reyn Ou