In every city, every year, new businesses pop up while others disappear. Long Beach is no different.

Over the past year, dozens of new companies, restaurants and shops opened their doors.

From recreational axe-throwing to a massive candy shop experience, here are some of the most notable businesses (that aren’t restaurants) that arrived in Long Beach this year, in alphabetical order.


Electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle developer AIBOT is one of the latest aerospace companies to make Long Beach its home. The firm was actually founded in 2022 but flew under the radar until Mayor Rex Richardson announced their operation during the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce’s State of Business event on Dec. 1. The company is developing manned and unmanned aircraft that will be able to transport people and cargo from the Los Angeles region to Las Vegas in about an hour. AIBOT has leased 25,000 square feet of hangar space at Long Beach Airport as well as 3,000 square feet of office space, with plans to grow its staffing to over 500 over the next several years.

Auriga Space

Auriga Space, which also was announced by Mayor Richardson during the Chamber of Commerce event earlier this month, is developing a new small satellite launch system. The tech startup was founded by Winnie Lai in San Francisco last year after she left her job at Long Beach-based Spinlaunch, which is developing its own small-sat launcher. Lai moved the company to a co-working space in Downtown in October. The innovative system will use a ground-based electromagnetic track and a magnetic field to propel the launch vehicle to a high altitude, at which point its engine will ignite to reach orbit.

Bad Axe

Axe throwing dates back to Middle Ages combat, but Long Beach residents can throw the steel-headed tool for fun in Downtown at Bad Axe Throwing. The recreational activity has exploded in popularity as urban entertainment in recent years and the company has taken full advantage with dozens of locations across the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. The Long Beach space opened above Chipotle on Pine Avenue at the beginning of the year with seven throwing lanes that each have two targets. Participants get a quick tutorial before they can throw different-sized axes as well as knives for a variety of games.

Blue Shield of California

Health insurance provider Blue Shield of California opened a new office near Long Beach Airport, where it says more than 1,000 employees work. Announced last year, the move backfills more than half of the space vacated by Epson America in 2020 at 3840 Kilroy Airport Way. Blue Shield signed an 11-year lease for 71,753 square feet of the roughly 136,000-square-foot building.


Co-owners Jackie Sorkin, left, and Amy Mason stand inside their new shop, Candified, in Belmont Shore Friday, July 7, 2023. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

North Long Beach native Jackie Sorkin and co-owner Amy Mason opened Candified in Belmont Shore in July. Sorkin earned the moniker “Candy Queen” over the years, building a name for herself that led to regular spots on the Food Network and Cooking Channel as well as a TLC show actually named “Candy Queen.” The pair decided to set up a brick-and-mortar candy store a la Willy Wonka’s factory. The vibrant space is filled with candy of all sorts as well as art that is itself made of candy.


Much of Long Beach’s newest additions to the aerospace sector have been focused on small satellite launches. With a much more niche mission, ExLabs stands out. The firm, still in its infancy, is developing spacecraft to aid in the removal of space debris, of which there are tens of millions of pieces around the Earth thanks to more than six decades of human space exploration. The satellite bus vehicle will have a claw that can collect debris. The firm hopes to send components up for space testing as early as 2025, with the first debris capture mission planned for 2027. The long-term goal is to scale up the system to a 100-ton vehicle for deep-space resource acquisition like asteroid mining.

Sports Basement

Bay Area sporting goods chain Sports Basement announced this year that it is taking over the former Sears building at 2100 N. Bellflower Blvd. — a massive retail location that has sat vacant for two years. Long Beach will be the brand’s 13th location and only its second in Southern California, the first being in Fountain Valley, which opened last year. The space is slated to open June 1. Aside from selling and renting sports and outdoor gear, the company is community-focused, allowing yoga studios, art galleries and even movie screenings in-store.