The Downtown Report: August Edition

SoCo Evolution

Since 1946, the Ellingson family has operated a precision machine shop, and today they produce critically machined parts for the aerospace industry.  Leo Fender set up his retail store on Spadra [now Harbor Blvd] and a small tin shed at the far east end of the alley. Tom Ellingson got to know Leo and manufactured some parts for the early Fender guitars. Boege and Bean Sporting Goods was there from the mid-forties to 2003, and of course Roscoe’s Famous Deli is there now. A variety of businesses have called SoCo home, including an auto upholstery shop, custom amplifier cabinet shop, auto repair, welding, woodworking, a juice processing plant, roofing company, interior design, ad agency, photography studio, art studio, bowling alley, jazz club, barber shop, pawn shop, gift shop, plant store, collectibles store, custom furniture store, many restaurants, a brewery tasting room, and on and on it goes. Most, if not all, have now opened back up, and we spotlight one here.

The Continental Room

Back in 1999, which by now we should call the turn of the century, Sean Francis was ready to expand his business interests and came upon the building that was a speakeasy in 1925. He struck a deal with the owner and after a long build-out with his partner Carlo Terranova, The Continental Room opened. Here is a photo of Little Joe’s in LA’s Chinatown. Notice the booths.

Booths from Little Joe’s in LA’s Chinatown.

Yes, they are the ones Sean acquired and they have been put to good use.

Booths at the Continental Room in Fullerton.

Over the last year or so, the Continental has expanded and now has a second area that includes a stage and more seating.

New room at the Continental Room.

We told you we would keep you informed as to when and where live music would return, and now you know of at least one place to check out soon. By the way, if you have noticed a new ownership poster on Joe’s front window, no need to worry. Jack and Joey are not going anywhere; it’s an internal move and all is well there.

Happy 75 Years in Business to Bill’s Body Works

We’ve been trying to fit this story in here for a while now, and here we go. Back in June, a local business celebrated their 75th Anniversary. How many businesses have that kind of longevity? Must be doing it right, and so they are. Bill’s Body Works opened in 1946 when Leo and Rueben Bill opened their auto body repair shop on Ash, and two years later they moved to 320 S. Highland.  Leo’s son Mark Bill took over the business in the 1980s and along with his wife Linda, they keep the place running strong. Congratulations to Bill’s; glad we finally got to tell the story.

Arboretum Reopens

Just a note to remind everyone once again that our Fullerton Arboretum is now open from 9am to 2pm Wednesdays through Sundays.  Even Vincent Van Gogh would have been mesmerized by the spectacular sunflower garden, which generated over $3500 through sales of personalized signs, seen here. This reopening is yet another sign (sorry) that our world is opening back up.

Sunflower garden at the Fullerton Arboretum.

Hot Dog

Finally made it to Cupids on Harbor and this vegetarian was very happy with the veggie dog. The best I ever had was from a cart in Victoria Canada, oddly enough, and this one was very good. Unless you are walking from nearby, park behind the restaurant and head to the entrance on Harbor.

Photo Quiz

On which historic Downtown building does this appear? Send answers to