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What's Happening with Main & PCH in Seal Beach?

Nat Ferguson

I am a fourth generation resident of Seal Beach who enjoys writing about local activities, business and real estate...

I am a fourth generation resident of Seal Beach who enjoys writing about local activities, business and real estate...

Jan 29 6 minutes read

With completion nearing on Main & PCH, Seal Beach residents will soon have access to several exciting new Fitness, Office & Retail businesses. The diverse mix of tenants includes Doc's Pie Shop, Dojo by Leo Vieira, Womens Tailoring and collaborative personal office spaces.

Recently I had a chance to talk with two of the new business owners.  What I learned will have you excited about what they're bringing to Seal Beach!

Doc's Pie Shop

The story of Doc's Pie Shop actually started more than a year ago when Dr. James Blake was faced with a life changing decision. Retire after 28 years of Dentistry or find an avenue to pursue his passion of baking, coffee and community. 

Dr. (Doc) James Blake

Besides his passion for baking & coffee, Dr. Blake deeply enjoys serving the community. Realizing there was an opportunity to connect with people through a shared love of homemade pies and specialty coffees gave birth to Doc's Pies Shop.

Blessed by an awesome staff in the dental world, Dr. Blake built his “Dream Team” in the pastry and specialty coffee world. Drawing from his experiences as small town dentist, James is making customer service the corner stone of Doc's Pies Shop.

When asked why he decided to settle on pies as his pastry of choice, Dr. Blake's reply was simple "Because the world needs more pie! It is really hard to think of pie and not crack a smile. For most of us, it conjures an image of friends, family, and fun."

Creating a gathering place for the community is an integral part of the experience James hopes to provide (read more on his "about" page). He shared that one of his principal beliefs is that "Creative brilliance may only need a slice of pie and a great cup of coffee to be unleashed. Business deals may hinge over a turnover."

So can we expect anything other than pies to be served? Dr. Blake admitted that at Doc's, the experience doesn’t stop with the pastry side of the operation. "Coffee is a huge part of what we do. Sourcing the best beans, the most innovative roasters, and the best variety of serving options all result in a great coffee experience."

Many people reading are probably thinking, how is another coffee shop in Seal Beach going to stand out? When I posed this question to Dr. Blake, his reply was one of seasoned small business owner "Our culture is passionately baked pies, irresistible specialty coffee, and memorably exceptional customer service. We love what we do, and those whom we serve."

I'll raise a cup of Joe to that!

Dojo by Leo Vieira - Kids Jiu Jitsu

While he may be newer to Seal Beach, Leo Vieira is no stranger in the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu having received his black belt in 1996. And while Leo competed professionally for a large part of his  career, he embraces teaching and coaching at the core of his business.

According to Frank Phung, co-owner of Dojo, he and Leo conceptualized the business in 2013 after volunteering for P.E. class at McGaugh Elementary School. Both Frank & Leo have children that attend the school, putting an emphasis on the importance of community focused physical education. They saw a need for group fitness that is specifically tailored for children ages 5 - 17.

       Leo Vieira

It is important to note that, while Jiu Jitsu may have been popularized by the UFC, Dojo by Leo Vieira will be a departure from the competitive environment of Checkmat Jiu Jitsu (Leo's other business).  According to Frank, "Leo and I want to bring his philosophy outside of the Team environment to positively influence the lifestyle and character development of children in the community through the teaching of Jiu Jitsu. This isn't about training kids five days a week to be competitive athletes, our focus will be on broadening their physical fitness education."

Goals include:

  • Learn self-defense techniques
  • Build self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Teach children to have respect for instructors and peers
  • Provide exercise and physical fitness

Both Leo and Frank identify with the struggles of working parents and having children active in multiple leagues/sports. To that end they have set out to solve three unique challenges... transportation to and from the Dojo, laundering of athletic wear and snack/hydration preparation.

The plan is to provide a shuttle service to pick up children from the local Elementary School, have the Gi's cleaned and folded in their cubby, snacks prepared and their personal water bottle clean and filled for each class session. Most parents reading this will rejoice over the simple matter of not having to chase down their kids water bottle, never mind the solution to transportation and laundry.

When I asked Frank how he plans to alleviate parents concern about their childs whereabouts, he replied as a parent who had already thought out the logistics, "our system automatically sends a text message to parents when we pick up their child and when we drop them off." This is just the type of convenience and peace of mind both owners hope will be the perfect fit for busy parents.

Being that both owners are Seal Beach residents, they want to lead by example in the business community and embody the "shop local" mantra by employing locals. Putting a focus on quality, not quantity is an approach they feel will attract the ideal employees, students and families to Dojo by Leo Vieira.

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