Naples Rib Company
Fran Ursini wanted to open a barbecue spot. He searched Southern California restaurants for inspiration and eventually walked into Naples Rib Joint, which opened at 5800 E. 2nd St. in 1981, and loved it. In 1984, Ursini opened Newport Rib Company in Costa Mesa. “He just thought everybody likes barbecue and it would go great. It’s something . . . everyone enjoys no matter what the celebration is,” son Dave Ursini said. “He tried to make a little more family dining barbecue versus lunch and casual style. He wanted a dinner house.” Then, in 1992, Naples Rib Joint went up for sale, and Fran jumped at the opportunity. At age 25, Dave left his job as a CPA to run the new Long Beach location, Naples Rib Company, which he operates to this day, while his brother John oversees Newport. Nearly 85% of the 35 employees are college students who work part time; however, two of the original cooks from 1992 still work in the kitchen. Dave explained that more than half of the food made at Naples is eaten outside the restaurant, including pickups and catered events. “I think Naples is an incredible hidden treasure in Southern California, and I love working with the people and having them be my customers,” Dave said. “It’s a great place to work.”
Ruth Waters Fashion
Lifelong retail veteran Vicki Burdman makes sure that shoppers at Ruth Waters, her women’s apparel store at 5605 E. 2nd St., are treated to a little slice of home. “I like to have kind of a homey environment in my store. People come in, and we make them a cup of coffee and offer them water,” she said. “There are always treats or something there that they can have.” Burdman has been working in retail since she was 16 years old. “I worked in a department store at all different levels for close to, I would say, 25 or 28 years,” she said, noting that she worked her way up to vice president. “I have always loved retailing. I am definitely very timely with fashion looks but not edgy,” Burdman said of the apparel at Ruth Waters, which she sources mostly from Los Angeles. “That’s always kind of been my forte, to be able to find product that is timely in fashion but not so edgy that it goes out of fashion by the end of the year.” Burdman said she loves being located in Naples. “It’s a really lovely neighborhood,” she said. “I really love the fact that it’s a community and everybody kind of looks out for one another.”
Red Door Living
After working in the apparel industry as a designer and merchandiser, Dorian Bolick decided to make a change and opened Red Door Living in 2003. “I have always loved and gravitated towards the home industry, and I decided to make that leap,” he said. Bolick originally opened the business as a furniture store in the East Village Arts District and later moved it to Broadway. Four years ago, he had the opportunity to relocate Red Door Living to 5612 E. 2nd St. in Naples. “Moving down here was just an opportunity to move into one of the premier business areas of Long Beach,” he said. Over the years, Bolick’s business evolved from a retail store into an interior design and furniture concierge service. “My showroom was retail, and clients started coming in wanting to have homes look like the store,” he said. “We do primarily residential interior design and furniture concierge, which is when people are looking for something specific for their home and can’t seem to find it,” Bolick explained. “And they hire us to find or build it for them. I just love the fact that my fellow shopkeepers are so supportive,” Bolick said of the Naples business community. “We help each other out and try to do things together. And it’s just a pleasant place to be.”
After moving from the Philippines to the United States in 1987, Erwin Angeles found employment in the field of software engineering, eventually working his way up to director of technology for CBS Entertainment. However, Angeles’ dream was to open a restaurant. “That’s what I had been wanting to do since I came to America,” Angeles said. “I just got stuck in the software engineering business because that’s what was easy for me to land a job.” In 2008, Angeles quit his job and took a three-month crash course to become a sushi chef. His sensei and mentor was Chef Katsuya Uechi of the famed Katsu-Ya Group in Los Angeles, which has nine restaurants in the county. Angeles continued to work for Katsuya from 2009 to 2014, at which point he found a listing for Naples Sushi for sale at 5662 E. 2nd St. and decided to venture out on his own. Angeles bought the business and rebranded it as Kihon, which translates to basics or fundamentals. “That’s our bottom-line motto here – keep the basic knowledge of Japanese cooking, which I learned in school,” Angeles said. The restaurant opened around July 2014 and serves up items such as sushi rolls, ramen, tapas, sashimi and other various seafood and meat options.
Thrive Health M.D.
After working at a family medical group in Seal Beach, Dr. Martha Wittenberg sought an approach to medicine that would focus more on wellness than on simply treating ailments and diseases with prescriptions. A fellowship in metabolic and nutritional medicine led her to open Thrive Health M.D. in 2015 at 5855 Naples Plaza, Suite 307, where she focuses on the overall health of her patients. “Because of some of the corporate changes happening with health care and also just a gradual disillusionment with conventional care, it just kind of felt like I spent all my time writing prescriptions for people who weren’t getting better,” Wittenberg said of her prior employment. “Basically, lots of people who come to see me already have doctors that are writing them prescriptions, but they want to try to get off their prescriptions,” she explained. “So I try to work with them and do nutritional changes and lifestyle changes to get them healthier so they don’t need as much medication.” Overall, she focuses on finding out what is causing her patients’ symptoms, rather than simply treating those symptoms. For this reason, she spends a long time consulting with patients – typically 75 minutes on the first visit. “I love Naples. I love being near the water,” Wittenberg said. “I love the neighborhood and the residents.”
Jeff Hoffman & Associates
After graduating from Wilson High School, fourth-generation Long Beach resident Jeff Hoffman went to work for The Walt Disney Co. while attending the University of Southern California. “I worked at Disneyland while I was going to college and started out selling rubber snakes and shrunken heads in Adventureland,” Hoffman said. “After I graduated from USC, I transferred to corporate headquarters in Burbank.” Hoffman worked his way up to a leadership role focusing on global responsibility for philanthropy, community relations, volunteerism and cause-related marketing for all Disney-owned brands. After 31 years, Hoffman parted ways with Disney to open Jeff Hoffman & Associates nearly six years ago. The company, which is a partnership with his husband, Bob Lane, is located at 5500 E. 2nd St., Suite 5, and focuses on global corporate social responsibility and philanthropy strategy advising. “We will often look at how a company is engaged with how [it] affects the environment, both positively and negatively, looking at supply chain issues, human rights, government – really anything where the company is having an impact on society,” Hoffman said. Some of Hoffman’s clients have included Hilton Worldwide, Edison International and public relations firm APCO Worldwide. Hoffman added, “The work is very fulfilling – helping companies to make our world a better place to live.”