A new seaside boutique delivers the ultimate South Bay vibe to locals and visitors alike.
- Written byLaura L. Watts
- Photographed byShane O’Donnell
When you think of the economic impact of a global pandemic, thoughts come to mind like schools shutting down, people limiting expenditures and businesses closing—temporarily or for good. It might not seem to be an ideal time to start a new business.
But that’s just what two Manhattan Beach families did, to great success. Opening its doors in August 2020—in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic—Founded 1912 was created to bring the latest resort and beachwear to the South Bay.
The owners of Founded 1912, the Negus and Elias families, have lived in the community for several years and have raised their children here. They were familiar with the store’s location: the northwest corner of Manhattan Avenue and Manhattan Beach Boulevard, only one block from the Manhattan Beach Pier and the sand. The property had sat empty for several months, and the owners didn’t want to see such an iconic location get turned into just another mainstream, everyday store.
“We wanted to give our local community as well as visitors a total Manhattan Beach experience when they walked through our doors,” says co-owner Tara Negus. “Founded 1912 is built on the foundation, community and beach culture that locals love and visitors will never forget.”
In the short time since opening, this female-founded small business has become known for customer service, offering feedback and assistance to customers looking for the perfect outfit for the beach or the pool. The staff is trained to work with each client to find the perfect fit best suited for their style and body shape.
“Our goal is to provide the ultimate swimwear shopping experience for our customers,” shares co-owner Jennie Elias, whose three daughters also work at the store. “Founded 1912 is the embodiment of the Manhattan Beach lifestyle. We have carefully curated the store to appeal to the community and represent the luxury beach lifestyle we live in.”
The store features hard-to-find specialty items made of the highest quality materials. In addition to designer swimwear and on-trend resortwear, they also offer accessories like handmade hats, jewelry, shoes, beach bags, towels and umbrellas perfect for your day at the beach. A fun part of shopping at Founded 1912 is the amazing ocean view from the store.
“We get to know our clients and understand what their needs are,” says Tara, whose daughter is too young to work at the store—but she enjoys hanging out frequently! “Swim is a different kind of purchase where clients feel more vulnerable while they are trying things on. We strive to make them feel comfortable and have fun while they shop.”
Choosing the name of the store was a no-brainer for the owners, who have lived in the South Bay for years and whose kids grew up here. The city of Manhattan Beach was incorporated in December 1912, and they decided to highlight that date in the name of their boutique to embrace the community.
Against great odds, Founded 1912 has not only survived but thrived throughout almost a year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tara and Jennie are proud of how hard their team has worked, and they are grateful to the community for supporting them and shopping small.
1125 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach | 310-546-1002 | founded1912.com
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