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‘We’re losing sleep’: 3 cars have plowed into this Wrigley area shop since last year

Emily Yep is pleading with the city to fix a dangerous intersection.

‘We’re losing sleep’: 3 cars have plowed into this Wrigley area shop since last year
A vehicle crashes into Emily Yep’s storefront on May 2, 2024. Courtesy photo.

Since July 2023, Emily Yep has had trouble sleeping, wondering if the antique store she and her husband, Marshall, have dedicated the past 13 years of their lives to will be safe.

At all hours of the night she jumps at any noise her store’s sensitive alarm system makes because in the last 10 months Magnolia and Willow Antique and Vintage Mall has had a car crash into its storefront three times.

Each time, it’s been catastrophic to the business, the Yep family’s mental health and a miracle that no one was seriously physically injured.

“We’re losing sleep, the stress and the emotional toll is almost indescribable at this point,” Yep said. “I’m terrified and I’m anxious.”

The store will have its 14-year-anniversary in October, and Yep says the issues with the Magnolia Avenue and Willow Street intersection have been apparent since they opened their shop in the Wrigley neighborhood.

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Since 2017, Yep has been begging the city to install metal bollards in front of the store to serve as a barrier for cars. On social media, Yep has been critical of the city’s lack of response. She said she spoke with both Mayor Rex Richardson’s office and members of the city’s Public Works Department, but says no substantial changes have been made to the intersection.

Richardson’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The most recent accident happened earlier this month on May 2. A video from the store’s security camera caught part of the incident and was posted to the store's social media page.

It shows a car coming towards the store on Magnolia Avenue in the early hours of the morning before it goes out of frame for a moment, a car horn is heard, and then a white sedan swerves onto Willow Street and crashes into the front of the store. Another car was also involved in the incident.

Antique glass cups, plates, lamps, display shelves, the storefront and the sidewalk’s electrical boxes were all destroyed.

No one was at the store at the time, but if the accident had happened just a few hours later it would’ve been a different story.

Insurance has been able to help recoup some cost, but it doesn’t account for the time and effort spent searching for the items Yep purchases for her store. The business is still waiting on some insurance claims to be paid out.

“We only get paid for the item's price that we paid,” Yep said. “Say I go out to an estate sale, I spend three hours at the estate sale hunting for these items, I drive there, I wait in line for the estate sale, I spend three hours inside the estate sale, I load it, I bring it home, I clean it, I price it, I drive it to the store, and then we display it.”

Yep is determined to stop the crashes, not just for the preservation of her business, but the safety of a neighborhood she’s been a part of for almost two decades. It’s why she has continued to post about the crashes and put public pressure on city officials.

“This is business, but it’s also the safety for my neighbors that I have grown to love and care about,” Yep said.

For the second time since the series of accidents, Yep spoke with a member of Mayor Rex Richardson’s office who visited the business on Wednesday and asked Yep to email a letter with specific changes for the intersection.

“We want our sidewalk and our business to be safe from cars crashing into it, we want pedestrians to be safe in our neighborhoods, we want four-way protected turn arrows, we want enforcement of those turn arrows as well as the speed-limit,” Yep said in a video update.

While “infrastructure cannot single handedly address speeding and reckless driving,” members from the city's traffic engineering team has “determined that the Magnolia and Willow intersection has a higher frequency of collisions which could be correctable with a protected left turn arrow,“ Lan Pham-Jenkins, an administrative analyst with Public Works said in a statement to the Watchdog.

One of the main requests for Yep, is metal bollards to line the sidewalk.

“Rigid bollards are typically reserved for low-speed areas to protect equipment in the right of way such as parking lot arms or gas meters,” Pham-Jenkins said. “Rigid bollards are not recommended for higher-speed areas where an abrupt stop could result in a severe injury to a motorist.“

The speed limit for the street has been lowered, Yep said, but she has not seen any enforcement.

The city is also planning upgrades ahead of the 2028 Olympics, including introducing curb extensions, signal upgrades, new pavement, and other pedestrian space improvements along Willow Avenue.

The community has rallied around the store, Long Beach Beer Lab will host a fundraiser on Thursday, May 16 at 6 p.m. where $2 from every pint sold will go toward helping the business rebuild. Yep has also set up a GoFundMe to help the business recover.

The Long Beach Post laid off Caitlin Antonios on March 22, yet she’s still reporting on the city without pay. Thank Caitlin for her work.


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