At The Aloha Bungalow, the Hawaiian Spirit Finds a Home in Redondo Beach

Tropical hideaway.

  • Category
  • Written by
    Tanya Monaghan
  • Photographed by
    Jessica Hickerson

On the corner of Catalina Avenue and Vista Del Mar stands a cute little shack that has been a fixture of the community for decades. Originally built in 1966 as an information booth for Redondo Beach to promote the Hollywood Riviera, later the city didn’t know what to do with the structure. It sat vacant for nearly 30 years—too beautiful to be torn down—before its rebirth as a flower shop.

After the owners of the flower shop relocated, South Bay natives Emily and Brian Poage saw it as the ideal place to launch The Aloha Bungalow. A perfect fit, it’s difficult to imagine the building ever had another name.

The Aloha Bungalow has a simple mission: spread love. Inspired by the Hawaiian aloha spirit—the act of sending and receiving positive energy, living in harmony, and treating others with love and respect—Brian and Emily set about capturing that energy in their brand. “We want to spread the idea of love, compassion and kindness that aloha embodies while supporting local and smaller businesses within our community,” says Brian.

The Aloha Bungalow sells products made right here in the South Bay, supporting creative friends and members of the couple’s amazing community. The nearly 60-year-old building bursts with beautifully curated local art, books, candles, jewelry, plants and so much more—reflecting the wide-ranging tastes and talents of the area.

Both Brian and Emily have deep roots in the South Bay. Brian was born in Redondo Beach and Emily in Palos Verdes. Ironically, they met in 2014 at the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco, where Emily was finishing her senior year at San Francisco State University.

For Brian, it was love at first sight. They exchanged numbers, and although he was living in San Diego, he was not dissuaded. He smiles, “I was in love with her the second I met her, and I said, ‘What are you doing next weekend?’ She said she didn’t have any plans, and I texted her back with my flight information.”

They did the long-distance thing for a year, and then Emily was offered a job for Free People in the Los Angeles showroom. The very next day, Brian, who worked in the construction industry, was asked to work on the Wilshire Grand Center in L.A. They could finally live together in the same place, so they moved to Hermosa Beach.

After some time working in their respective industries, Brian and Emily decided it would be fun to start a business together. They began by sourcing shirts that were made from handwoven fabric in Guatemala, Nepal or Hawaii. They designed Hawaiian-style shirts from these three regions with the idea of giving back with every purchase. They called it Aloha for People, and the aloha spirit was included in their venture from the start.

“We either provided a child in Guatemala or Nepal with clean water access for a year or helped Surfrider Foundation provide clean ocean water. We launched a Kickstarter, which raised $25,000,” says Brian. “We made our shirts and had this business going for two years. And then we expanded the product line to include T-shirts, surf fins and scarves. We visited all the places we were sourcing from, doing ‘giving trips’ where we’d take our friends out and take the filters for the water. It was really fun.”

Emily’s cousin owned the business that occupied the bungalow at the time and was already selling the Aloha for People shirts. When she decided to relocate to Paso Robles, she floated the idea of Brian and Emily taking over the space. It was a wonderful opportunity.

Emily had grown tired of working in the fashion industry, and the timing seemed perfect to pivot and do something different. They jumped on the opportunity to create an iconic concept store, and The Aloha Bungalow was born.

They wanted to fill their little beachside store with more than their own products, so they began to source from within the community. The business quickly grew organically by word of mouth as they focused on supporting local artists, creatives and brands in the area. The result was a unique shop with products that embody the essence and culture of the South Bay.

At The Aloha Bungalow, dogs are given treats, children are welcomed and most customers are known by name. Emily and Brian think of their customers as ohana or family, and Emily’s mom, Vickie, also works at the shop. Emily calls her the mayor of Redondo Beach—a frequent village patron since she was a young kid.

“She even remembers when the bungalow was just an information booth,” says Emily. The next generation is getting an aloha education as well—occasionally Riley, the couple’s adorable, towheaded, 18-month-old son, spends time with them all in the store.

The Poages love hosting community events. They produce an aloha yoga session every summer and collaborate on pop-ups and installations with other brands and local businesses throughout the year.

However, The Aloha Bungalow is first and foremost a treasure trove of beachy, bohemian home decor and gifts. Some top sellers include scented candles by Trapp, as well as beautiful succulent arrangements homegrown in a greenhouse by Jean Timberlake, a local Palos Verdes girl who also makes the vases they come in.

Another favorite is Jessica Dickerson’s Esplanade Brand hats, clothing, sweatshirts, T-shirts and baby clothes. They sell coffee mugs and blankets from their friends’ coffee company, Sundream, which fit perfectly next to local girl Amy Boeger’s ocean-themed resin art, cutting boards and bottle openers under the label Seas the Day.

From a booth to blooms and a bungalow packed with products, this little place has been filled with so much over the years. But the best thing you’ll find at this Redondo destination is the love and aloha Emily and Brian pour into all they do.

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