When people think of a city landmark, people usually think of a monument, a grand spot, or even a place specifically designated as a landmark, but people usually forget that some of the most iconic and important places are the places that we frequent each and every day. That is the case for the people of the westside of Long Beach: enter, Eddie’s Jr. Market Liquor, located at Spring and Santa Fe.
With a humbling 3 and 1/2 stars on Yelp, Eddie’s Liquor is the one-stop shop for most of your everyday needs: alcohol, from 40 ounces to wines, check; smoking goods like cigarettes and cigars, from your humble Swishers to Backwoods, check; junk food, from beef jerky to Takis (most youth know how difficult these are to find sometimes, especially in a large), check. Happen to need some household cleaning supplies like brooms and detergent or some other miscellaneous stuff like hair ties and shoelaces? They got you covered.
The place gets all sorts of customers; some would think that the store being located at Spring and Santa Fe (what some/most would consider “hood”) would deter some people, but there is still a wide variety of customers that visit the store each day. Right across from the store is a gated community mostly comprised of old white people so some of them stop by from time to time. You also have students coming in here, ranging everywhere from elementary all the way to high school (think John Muir Elementary, Stephens Middle School, and Cabrillo High School) coming through to purchase their sugar/junk food fix at the end of their day. Likewise, adults, ranging from the most tame civilians to the most raucous hoodfolk, come here to pick up some last minute goods and vices to end their days as well. This place is also a haven for the local stoners and vagrants, the latter of which just loiter around the vicinity. In essence, this a space where people from different walks of life congregate.
Just listing all of the basics (essentially, people come here to buy whatever) makes you realize how integral a simple store can be to a community. Much like how Union Square functions as a grand entrance into Los Angeles, I feel like you haven’t quite experienced any real community or city until you’ve experienced its landmark. Eddie’s Liquor is the quintessential landmark of the westside of Long Beach because you feel the vibe of the whole community even just standing outside the store; you catch a vibe that is both alienating, yet curiously inviting. Like the westside, to outsiders, they may see this space as just an undesirable, “ghetto,” “hood” area, but upon further inspection, there is a lot more than what meets the eye. Standing outside of Eddie’s Liquor, one may be hesitant to walk in (maybe due to the drug addicts or homeless people chilling outside or the grimey, slightly less than clean look of the area), but upon entering, you will find what you’re craving or what you didn’t even know you were craving. The space may seem uninviting at first, but it eventually grows into a place that is comfortable, and that is exactly what Eddie’s Liquor represents: it is a reflection of the community that it is in and an effective reflection of the westside of Long Beach. The way I think of it is: “what’s the point of fixing this place up and making it look all high-end? This is a simple shop that provides a simple service, and if it works, then why fix it?” The westside is much like this in that the people of the community share a very similar mindset; not that they don’t enjoy the luxuries of life, but most of these people are living their lives just getting by, so they just find ways to make life work. They realize the environment that they live in is not necessarily the best, but still persevere and thug it out each day. And at the end of each day, every person just wants to unwind and relax, and what better way to end the night with a quick trip to Eddie’s.
*You can check out the map and some Yelp reviews here: