We had the good fortune of connecting with Alan Gomez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alan, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My wife & I had recently moved back to California from Oregon and I already felt exhausted at the idea of going through the motions of the hiring process. At the time, it seemed like a perfect opportunity for a fresh start at my own business. I always wanted a business that focused on beer AND coffee.. But I had no money, so I got a small loan from a friend’s dad to start a coffee popup so I could start generating some revenue.. Just about a year later, I had my own space and was going through the process of getting a beer & wine license. And through the last few years, Commodity has developed into the bottle shop & cafe that is currently standing.
What should our readers know about your business?
I think the number one question I’m asked is a variation of “what makes your place different?” I honestly feel like it’s not about trying so hard to be different, rather I think it’s about being a beacon of community. Commodity is not the first place to serve both alcohol & coffee. But I guess what really makes it different is me, I’m the factor in my business that others don’t have. And, for better or worse, this goes with every business owner in the world, what makes each business different is the personality that each entrepreneur brings to their own business. This isn’t to say any one business owner is better than another, rather each one is unique in their own way, even when there are multiple business with the same model. Prior to opening Commodity, I had no money to start a business and no business experience. But I am a big risk taker and I think on my feet, so I just dove right into business ownership without a plan and learned on the job, I do not recommend this tactic for everyone The first couple years saw more downs than ups but in the last year or so, we’ve seen significant growth. Getting over the hurdles wasn’t easy but to any new business owner, I’d say stick with it. It gets way worse before it gets better. And if I were to say what I’m most excited about.. That actually took some thought but the answer is pretty simple. I’m most proud and excited about the fact that I’m fortunate enough to own a business. So many people try and fail or never try at all or never even have the means to start a business. But I am fortunate enough to have been in a position to try, utilize resources, and thus far, succeed in business ownership. Most of the world doesn’t know Commodity exists, but I’m proud to have served my community for 4 years. Strangers turned customers, customers turned regulars, regulars turned friends. The community, even outside of Long Beach, keeps getting knit just a little tighter and it all started because I didn’t want to update my resume and go to interviews.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I guess this answer would have to be in a world pre-COVID. It’s hard to make a rough itinerary but here are some of my all time favorite spots in Long Beach: Breweries: Ambitious Ales, Beachwood Blendery, Liberation Brewing Wine: Art du Vin Bars: Bamboo Club, Grasshopper Restaurants: The 4th Horseman, Manaow, Michael’s Downtown, Panxa, Tito’s Bakery, Roe Bottle shops: The Wine Country, Stateside Crafts Shopping: Urban Americana, Butterscotch, KUARTO Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I feel like Commodity wouldn’t be nearly as successful without the help I’ve received from other business owners, friends & family. The Dene Family (Michael’s on Naples, Michael’s Downtown) were very helpful in the beginnings of Commodity. Carl Dene in particular. He was the building owner at the time and gave me a chance by letting me lease a space in his building. As any new business owner can tell you.. Finding a space for your business is one of the biggest hurdles you face; I can’t even count how many times I’ve had the door slammed in my face, so to speak. Carl also gave a new business owner little bits of advice here & there that helped me figure out what I was doing. Ben Lau, who later became a partner in our business, saw the potential early on in our relationship and decided he wanted to help Commodity grow. And since then, has put in a lot of work to help grow the business into more that a place. It became a brand that is now well recognized. There are so many people to name in this list, but it’ll be a novel before I’m finished thanking and acknowledging everyone that has helped Commodity.