Unlike our "best of" roundups of years past, we truly felt like we were uncovering a time capsule while compiling 2020's most-tapped stories. To say that this year has been a challenging one would be quite an understatement — and while we'll leave the nitty-gritty analyses to the larger newsrooms, we can say that covering Los Angeles' retail scene at a time when brick-and-mortar small businesses has left us both heartbroken and hopeful.
We know we're not the only ones who are looking forward to the new decade. Here, let's take a moment to look back on 20 of the top stories (which also included no shortage of sample sales) of the past year. Ahead, check out some of this year's most-clicked headlines — from the best L.A. store openings to the mid-pandemic retail relief that we all needed and more — and stay tuned for part two of this list.
We weren't the only ones excited to welcome one of Miami's coolest designer havens. The Webster opened its first L.A. boutique in January at the Beverly Center (and trust us, the insiders-only grand opening bash was quite the event), bringing cult-favorite labels including Brother Vellies, Celine, Dior, Fear of God, Gucci, Loewe, Off-White, Palm Angels, and others to the 11,000-square-foot space designed by British-Ghanaian architect Sir David Adjaye.
L.A. beauty buffs are going to miss Glossier's not-so-secret selfie room following the brand's permanent store closures in August. Its Melrose Place boutique first opened in 2018, and temporarily shuttered during the pandemic.
Following worldwide demonstrations in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others by police, awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement brought support to small businesses owned by people of color. To help local foodies and coffee lovers discover new spots (and invest their dollars into the hardest-hit shops), we rounded up some of the best Black-owned coffee shops in L.A.
If there were ever a time to support local small businesses, this year's shopping holiday was it. Our roundup of over 200+ Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales by L.A. designers, brands, and boutiques got people clicking (and spending).
Just in time for Valentine's Day, cult-cool Swedish brand Byredo debuted its first fragrance boutique in L.A. It landed on a low-key stretch of Melrose Avenue not far from other stylish international imports, including Ganni and Acne Studios.
Celeb-loved former Soulcycle instructor Angela Manuel-Davis teamed with tennis pro Akin Akman and fashion marketing guru Trey Laird to open Aarmy, a high-tech fitness studio. The workout haven kicked off its year-long L.A. residency in West Hollywood, and although the space is temporarily closed due to COVID-19, fitness fiends can still book live virtual workouts.
Not long after the coronavirus lockdowns, cool lifestyle hub Platform was among the first L.A. shopping centers to go the drive-through route. Its takeout option is still going strong, and shoppers can pick up gourmet food from is restaurants, clothing from boutiques like The Optimist, and more.
13. Meet the Stylish L.A. Bakers Behind Instagram's Favorite (and Charitable) Olive Oil Cake (June 11)
Little House Confections co-founders Liz Roth and Jayme Wisneski went viral (thanks to a few celeb shout-outs) earlier this summer with their charitable "bomb-ass" olive oil cakes — and we can confirm that the perfectly powdered sweets are as delicious as they are photogenic. Two months later, the duo opened their first brick-and-mortar shop at Platform in Culver City.
New York-born facial studio Heyday opened another L.A. location in Silver Lake in early March, marking its second West Coast outpost. (Technically, it's the brand's third shop, but it shuttered its Brentwood Country Mart spot earlier this year.)
11. You Can Fill a Shopping Bag for Just $10 at PrettyLittleThing's First L.A. Sample Sale (March 4)
Just shy of our top 10 stories, PrettyLittleThing's first L.A. sample sale drew an epic queue on Melrose Avenue, making it one of the last major shopping events just weeks before the City of Angels went into lockdown. (The U.K.-born fast fashion brand also topped our 2019 list with its first L.A. showroom opening.)