Abbot Kinney Blvd.

Chains Be Gone

Three years after a boycott was begun by Venice Unchained as part of a campaign to keep chain stores off Abbot Kinney Blvd., Pinkberry, at 1410 AKB, has thrown in the towel.

The Pinkberry franchise owner, Patrick Cheh, will not be going broke. He owns ten other Pinkberry stores, more than anyone else.

Venice Unchained’s boycott was helped by the opening of a locally owned store, Nice Cream, next door. The store often has a line of customers while Pinkberry has been lonely except on weekends when more tourists are in the area.

In addition to the Pinkberry boycott, Venice Unchained has promoted an ordinance, with Councilmember Bill Rosendahl’s support, that would prohibit “formula retail” stores in the central Venice area. Except for one hearing on Feb. 20, 2008 at the Westminster Auditorium, it has been languishing in the L.A. Planning Dept.  Planning staff say this is due to a lack of funding and staffing in the department. Perhaps the Pinkberry victory will create pressure on city government to get moving.

“I’m delighted the owner finally understood the boycott was not going away,” said Dawn Hollier, who with Melissa Bechtel founded Venice Unchained. “I think other chain stores should see this as a cautionary lesson if they are thinking about coming to Abbot Kinney,” she added.

About a year ago, another chain store, The Coffee Bean, gave up its Venice roost in mid-lease at the corner of Windward and Pacific, just across the street from a popular local hangout, Cafe Collage.

In its July, 2004, issue the Beachhead ran a front-page photoshopped picture by Eric Ahlberg of Abbot Kinney Blvd. with chain stores, including Taco Bell, Starbucks and Dominos replacing local stores.

See for more information and see Ahlberg’s nightmare vision of Abbot Kinney Blvd. at

–Jim Smith