Farmers & Merchants Bank (F&M) has provided $3 million in financing to Body Glove International for the renovation of its iconic Dive n’ Surf store in Redondo Beach, Calif. When complete, the property will encompass the new corporate headquarters of Body Glove International on the second floor and a fully renovated retail space on the ground floor.
“Farmers & Merchants Bank has been our bank since 1966 and has grown alongside us ever since,” said Body Glove International President Russ Lesser. “Their special faith and confidence in us and our relationship through the decades has helped us reach this milestone.”
The expansion from 6,464 square feet to nearly 14,800 square feet will enable Body Glove to consolidate its operations and reaffirm its longtime commitment to the South Bay, while continuing toward their global growth. In addition to providing expanded retail floor space and state-of-the-art offices, Body Glove will undertake improvements to the surrounding streets to improve accessibility and beautify the area.
“The new facility will ensure that this historic brand remains right where it all started, at the epicenter of California surf culture,” said Jeff Spinelli, senior vice president with Farmers & Merchants Bank, who arranged the financing. “As a company with a 106-year legacy in Southern California, we are honored to work with Body Glove to solidify this commitment.”
The project, which will bring an estimated 20 new jobs to the City of Redondo Beach, is slated for completion in August 2013, coinciding with Body Glove’s 60th anniversary.
Body Glove and F&M Bank: A 47-Year Relationship
At a time when relationships between iconic businesses and their banks have been tested, the bond between Body Glove and F&M Bank is unique. Body Glove was started by the Meistrell brothers, while F&M Bank was founded and is managed by the Walker family. Both firms have employed multiple generations of South Bay and Long Beach residents.
Body Glove is among the last of the original Southern California surf companies to remain under family ownership. The company began its relationship with F&M Bank in 1966 as the growing popularity of California surf culture galvanized the expansion of the Body Glove brand into international markets and new product types.
“F&M Bank worked with us during many challenging economic climates and always over-delivered on its commitment to passionate, personal service,” said Lesser. “We don’t know of any other bank that still provides this level of service. We look forward to continuing this journey together for the next 60 years.”
About Body Glove
Founded in 1953, Body Glove is a leading, worldwide water sports brand specializing in wetsuits, swimwear, clothing, footwear, accessories, and technology accessories. The company sponsors one of the most respected surf and wakeboard teams in the industry with such powerhouse names as pro surfers Jamie O’Brien, Cheyne Magnusson, Anthony Walsh, Alex Gray and Holly Beck and wake boarders Rusty Malinoski, Harley Clifford, Bob Soven and Jeff McKee. Body Glove and Jean-Michel Cousteau and his Ocean Futures Society have formed a legendary alliance to help preserve and protect the ocean while providing ocean and diving geared equipment to water enthusiasts around the globe. Some of the proceeds from the sale of those products go directly to Ocean Futures Society. Through Reef Check, SIMA’s environmental fund, and the Surfrider Foundation, Body Glove also works to preserve the purity of the waters it loves. Body Glove products are sold in the U.S. by a network of independent retailers. Body Glove is also sold in approximately 50 countries internationally.
About Farmers & Merchants Bank
Founded in Long Beach in 1907 by C.J. Walker, Farmers & Merchants Bank (fmb.com) has 21 branches in L.A. and Orange Counties. The Bank specializes in commercial and small business banking along with business loan programs. Farmers & Merchants Bank of Long Beach is a California state chartered bank with deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (Member FDIC) and an Equal Housing Lender.