Post & Beam comes to Exposition Park
Los Angeles small businesses have been adamant about wanting a bigger piece of the pie — expanding their businesses to reach new customers at different locations. Some business owners do this by partnering with others and creating coalitions.
One business owner getting into the partnership trend is John Cleveland, the owner/chef of Post & Beam, who recently joined South LA Cafe (SLAC) Hospitality’s network. SLAC, helmed by Los Angeles natives Joe and Celia Ward-Wallace, is a certified Minority Business Enterprise and women-led business ecosystem that includes South LA Cafe, South LA Market, and South LA Cafe Community Foundation 501c3.
"We organically met with South LA Cafe owners last year as we both enjoyed each other's items at our respective businesses and we felt like we both branded ourselves as a family business which helps us to connect," Cleveland said. "We saw how the community and their staff were treated, and it mirrored the same way the community and our staff treat us."
The partnership paid immediate dividends as both businesses were approached by collaborators to see if they would be interested in the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC), and both owners decided to join the SLAC collective. This was the first time a partnership between small businesses and a landmark would happen in South L.A.
"It's a new type of partnership that L.A. residents have never seen because these types of contracts usually go to big companies, and once we saw the opportunity, we jumped on it immediately, knowing it was a long shot, but we somehow managed to acquire it," Cleveland said.
SLAC Hospitality took over the museum’s food service operations on Feb.1, and has an organizational commitment to subcontract with 90% minority and women-owned LA-based local companies. Post & Beam will soon open up a restaurant under a brand new casual concept, with a new name and menu at the museum.
"We saw this as an opportunity to expand our clientele with a group of people we don't normally service, and it also allows us to explore new food concepts as we transition to casual and on-the-go dinners for the restaurant at the museum," Cleveland said.
The menu will have healthy, hand-made food that will feature local ingredients. It will also feature Post &Beam favorites like their hand-stretched pizza and signature sandwiches.
“This bold, creative, and community-centered partnership with South LA Cafe hospitality serves as an innovative new model for museums – providing food, beverage, and catering options for museum visitors and event partners that are hyperlocal, culturally informed, family-friendly and prioritize health and sustainability,” said Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga, NHMLAC president and director. “Working with SLAC will help us achieve our vision for the museum to serve as a dynamic community hub that engages all Angelenos with a focus on South L.A. while amplifying our mission to be a museum of, for, and with L.A.''