Just as the local beaches are beginning to thaw, with summer almost upon us, Diane’s Beachwear, a 2nd Street shopping staple for nearly half a century, has closed.
The reason behind the closure was not clear.
It’s also unclear if the remaining stores will close. The stores either have disconnected phones or calls went unanswered, and their websites all say “Sorry we missed you. Have a safe and healthy summer.”
“They just left, I never heard a word from them,” said Dede Rossi, executive director of the Belmont Shore Business Association.
Diane Biggs brought her store to Belmont Shore a decade after opening a shop in Santa Monica in 1962, when the bikini-clad wahines were starting to draw looks, if not outright ogles. By 1972, bikinis were big at Horny Corner at Alamitos Bay and other Southland beaches—and these later models made the earlier bikinis look like muumuus, but even so, the 1960s swimwear was considered skimpy and scandalous.
Biggs’ store in the Shore was an original shop in the Second Street Plaza building, according to the building’s owner David Witzling, who said he was sorry to see the business close. “They had hoped to work something out so they could stay in business, but it just didn’t work out,” he said. “They went out of business because of COVID, and it’s unfortunate now that summer is here.”
It was difficult for many body styles and sizes to find the right fit, and Biggs was a pioneer when it came to selling tops and bottoms separately.
Biggs’ Long Beach store, at 5239 E. Second St. was popular enough to enable her to eventually open 20 stores in Southern California and Arizona, including Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Palm Springs.
Beachwear shoppers won’t be out of luck for long. Longtime swimwear businessman Greg Stager, will open Bestswimwear at the former Diane’s site, hopefully by Thursday, according to Stager, who has operated a store in Hermosa Beach for several years. The Shore shop will be his second location.
“We looked at it and thought it would be an ideal shopping location,” Stager said. “It’s a perfect transition for us and we thought it would be a shame for Second Street to go without a swimwear shop.”
Stager also maintains an online store at www. bestswimwear.com.