LONG BEACH – Permanently docked on the aquatic edge of Long Beach, the Queen Mary has long been subject to rumors of being haunted. Such rumors have even been incorporated into a marketing plan to help draw tourists and visitors to the retired ocean liner. Of course, some of those tourists and visitors who end up patronizing the Queen Mary probably also visit one of the many shops on board the ship.
In early September, the Queen Mary’s management team issued a 30-day notice to evict to the ship’s shops. At the requests of the retail tenants, both the city of Long Beach and the Queen Mary agreed to allow the shops to remain aboard the ocean liner through the first week of 2015 on a month-to-month basis at base-rate rents.
The ship’s retail area will become a ghost town beginning Jan. 6, 2015, as upgrades to the ship are scheduled to take place.
Percentage rates were waived “in order to generate additional cash flow for the retail tenants to assist in their relocation,” according to Queen Mary officials.
According to Queen Mary management, San Diego-based Event Network has partnered with the permanently docked ship to oversee retail operations through 2019.
Event Network serves as a retail partner with approximatlety 100 venues nationwide, including the College Football Hall of Fame, Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Alamo, Battleship Iowa, Gettysburg National Military Park and the Griffith Observatory.
An employee of Pasttime Collectibles, who had been with the shop for 15 years, told The Log the notices “came as a big surprise.”
Another employee at Queen Mary Couture confirmed every retailer aboard the ship was given until Jan. 6 to vacate.
Queen Mary retailers such as Queen Mary Couture, Pasttime Collectibles, The Dragon Shoppes and Scottish Heritage Center have been operating from the cean liner for decades.
The retailers were on month-to-month leases since 2012, according to Queen Mary management.
“They clearly understand our ongoing efforts to upgrade all business systems and the overall Queen Mary experience, from tours to dining to shopping,” Queen Mary General Manager John Jenkins stated in a press release.
After the initial 30-day notice was issued to all retailers and the news went public, Queen Mary management extended the month-to-month agreements through Jan. 6, 2015.
Jenkins stated the retailers would suffer from too much hardship if forced to move by the first week of October, which is when the initial 30-day notice would have expired.
“The recent exercise of contractually agreed to lease termination notices is proving a hardship for some tenants,” he stated. “We should also recognize the needs of our current retail tenants and trust this extension will enable a seamless transition over the coming months.”
Jenkins added while the extensions might impact Event Network’s plans to build out new retail venues and make other improvements, he believes the partnership with the San Diego-based company will help bolster Queen Mary’s bottom line.
Revenue from retail sales is a major contributor to Queen Mary’s operations, Jenkins stated, as the historical venue does not receive much assistance from outside subsidies.
According to Jenkins, current retail personnel aboard the Queen Mary could be interviewed by Event Network for potential jobs at new retailers.
Built during the Great Depression, the Queen Mary was christened in Scotland on Sept. 26, 1934 and embarked on its maiden voyage in 1936. The ocean liner was retired in 1967 and took residence in its current location by Shoreline Village in Long Beach.
On Sept. 26, 2014, Queen Mary celebrated its 80th birthday