Cafe, shop and gathering space in the heart of downtown Manhattan Beach, homie is open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner and shopping. Owner Kelley Haley opened the business in May and has worked in the hospitality industry for decades. She graduated from both Mira Costa High School and California State University, Long Beach and went on to work at a variety of restaurants. She also worked for nearly 30 years as a nurse before opening homie.
“It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had, but I’ve never been happier.”
What would you like our readers to know about you and your business?
“homie is owner-operated and has a strong local presence. I was raised in Manhattan Beach and spent my entire life here; there are only a few original buildings and small businesses left in town. I am proud to call Manhattan Beach my hometown. Our community is youthful and energetic, and homie fits in perfectly. We needed a fresh, independent cafe and wine bar, and I’m glad I took the chance on myself and my vision.”
What word do you most want associated with homie?
What sets your business apart from the rest?
“Visually my space is a mix of vintage and modern. It’s a comfortable space with couches, reading chairs, an antique bar and graffiti on the walls. It’s fun and vibrant in the front of the house but very cozy and intimate in the back.”
Describe your typical client.
“I don’t actually have a ‘typical’ client. They range from kids to grandparents and everyone in between. Families, couples, groups of friends, singles, people working on their laptops and people celebrating everyday events. Lots of locals and lots of shop employees from the surrounding businesses.”
How would your clients describe you?
“Outgoing, extroverted, a natural people- person. I genuinely enjoy meeting new customers, visiting with my regulars and being on the floor with my employees or in the kitchen with my crew.”
What is the secret to your success?
“Surrounding myself with talented people and then letting them help me. My closest friends are all career-oriented men and women—many them entrepreneurs and business owners. I believe in the law of attraction: What I put out, I get back.”
Who inspired you to choose your profession?
“Ron Guidone, owner of Mangiamo in Manhattan Beach.”
Share about a woman who influenced your life.
“My grandmother was a businesswoman in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in the 1950s to 1980s. She owned and operated the fanciest dress shop in town. She had great class and style, but she also cursed, smoked and drank beer. I was fascinated by her stories, and I loved to play ‘dress-up’ in her salon. Everyone in town knew her and adored her.”
What motivates you?
“Teamwork. I am inspired when my employees are committed and driven. When we are all in a groove together, work is fun and productive.”
Are you a believer in trusting your instincts?
“Absolutely. I have two tattoos; one says, ‘Believe in yourself,” and the other says, ‘Actually I can.’”
Advice for women going into your line of work?
“Be prepared to work 24 hours a day. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had, but I’ve never been happier.”
How do you maintain a healthy balance between work and family life?
“My secret is giving 100% to both, not 50/50. I don’t believe one should take precedence over the other; I think women can do it all if they believe in themselves. The other secret is having amazing woman friends. They can get me through any struggle I come up against.”
What was the best piece of advice you received in your career?
“Get up. Dress up. Show up. Never give up.”
Which personality traits do you possess that you credit with your success?
“Approachable, friendly and admittedly sassy.”
In what ways do you give back?
“As a new business owner, I’m getting a lot of requests to sponsor and donate to a number of great causes in town. I’ve committed my main focus to the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation, the Manhattan Beach public school system and the many teams, clubs and organizations within the schools. I was lucky enough to grow up attending Manhattan Beach schools, so it means a lot to me to give back to them.”
How do you unwind?
“I love eating good food and drinking wine surrounded by friends and family.”