Long Beach cashing in on shade and comfort
How is it possible to make beachgoers happy and enrich the City of Long Beach at the same time? Try providing a little shade and comfort.
Wendy Parr of Jericho and Brian Berkery of Long Beach started a company Memorial Day weekend - Beach Comfort - that rents beachgoers umbrellas and beach chairs. The city gets money out of the deal - about 20 percent of Beach Comfort's revenues.
Berkery, who runs an ad agency in Long Beach, and Parr, who works in municipal marketing, helped Long Beach make some money a few years ago by placing local ads on city buses. After that, Berkery said, city officials came to them for moneymaking ideas. Berkery and Parr came up with the idea of renting beach stuff - reclining chairs for $8 a day and umbrellas for $13. They also hired 15 high school and college students to work for them for the summer. Last summer, Parr and Berkery ran Beach Comfort on a trial basis and made the city about $3,000, said City Manager Charles Theofan.
Parr said the company purchased about 200 umbrellas and 250 chairs. They are rented out from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Riverside, Edwards, National and Neptune boulevards, and New York Avenue. The Beach Comfort stands will be open weekends until July Fourth and then daily through Labor Day.
"Not only did they make some money for us, but they provided an amenity and a service," Theofan said. He said he anticipates Beach Comfort will make lots more money for the city this year than last.
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