From hand-stitched quilts, handmade soaps to butt-shaped candles, The Hangout on Fourth Street offers a wide selection of eclectic, special and handmade goods with a story.
Voted as the “Best Place to Gatekeep” by students at Long Beach State, The Hangout is well integrated into the community as a home to local small businesses and a supporter of independent suppliers.
“We really have a powerful village,” said owner Melissa Carpenter, who oversees the staffing and maintenance of the store.
Once a designer for big brands such as Abercrombie, Hollister and Eddie Bauer, Carpenter left the industry in 2018 and opened her first store in Long Beach, The Family Store. While running it, she realized her passion for working with the community.
“I just really started to get ingrained into the community. We started hosting events and workshops over at that location,” Carpenter said. “I really wanted to be in a bigger business community that was connected and was tied in with the city.”
At The Hangout, she has continued to curate a community-oriented environment by hosting two to three workshops and events a week led by different community artists. Upcoming events include a watercolor painting class and a workshop on creating your own dried floral centerpieces. This winter, they will begin to offer classes for children as well.
According to Carpenter, the greatest appeal of The Hangout is its sense of originality as most of the products are one-of-a-kind, either vintage or handmade. Lively vendors and the knowledge that products are ethically sourced, make stepping into The Hangout a more personal and meaningful shopping experience.
“It makes me happy to be able to offer that for a minute, where people come in and they’re not stuck on their phones,” Carpenter said. “Seeing that interaction when they’re discovering something…those are the moments I love.”
The Hangout also attracts a lot of small business owners that are looking for support in their endeavors.
Stephanie Spirovski is one of two sales associates that have come in and launched their own brands while working at The Hangout. She has studied medicinal plants and their uses. She sells organically made apothecary products such as body butters and custom tea blends.
“It’s been a place of growth to start my own business, which is really unique,” said Spirovski.
Carpenter is planning to open a second location in San Luis Obispo in May 2023.
“I’m so thrilled and excited for not only The Hangout to be expanding but also the people I work with inside here to be growing and expanding too,” Carpenter said.