Originally posted December 10, 2009
By: Jon Carr and Tanya Joy Brueckner
Ocean Beach is a community well known, and highly regarded for supporting our local merchants. Our “mom & pop shops” have arguably been the backbone of this great village for decades. Obceans take great pride in our local storefronts, and go to great lengths to protect our shores from large corporate interests. It is in my opinion that the single most effective way to preserve our community, keep local businesses thriving and stave off corporate influence, is by shopping local whenever possible.
Studies have shown that local businesses return on average 80% of each dollar spent in their stores to their community through city taxes, employee wages and money spent on services from other local, independent businesses. As opposed to roughly 40% and even as little as 20% of that same dollar being returned to the community by big box retailers. So when you shop locally, you are really making a statement that you wish to contribute to the betterment of the community you live in. You’re also doing your part to benefit the global community. By walking down the street to your local store, or hopping on your beach cruiser as the case may be in Ocean Beach, you are deciding not to burn environmentally damaging fossil fuels driving to the mall.
Ocean Beach has a population of roughly 28,000. Let’s assume 10,000 of those people decide to drive the 12 mile round trip to get to Fashion Valley mall for their holiday shopping. And if approximately 1lb. of CO2 is burned for every mile driven in your average automobile, that adds up to an additional 6 tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere from Obceans alone!
So now that we all agree shopping locally is the right thing to do for numerous reasons, the next question is where to shop. Perhaps you think OB is just a bunch of antique malls and bars. Well, at least I did. I realized when I began writing this article that I was seriously lacking in shopping skills and I would have to call in an expert. Who better than the one-woman recession-buster, my lovely fiance Tanya Joy! Tanya can smell a deal from miles away. I have literally seen her walk by a storefront and spot a watch on sale in a display case 50 feet away. Eagles envy that sort of vision. Together, I knew that we could show off the diversity of Ocean Beach merchants and show our readers that it is possible whether you’re a guy or girl to find everything you need for your holiday shopping right here in our hometown of Ocean Beach.
We started off with a store I had never set foot in, and always thought was just another antique shop. Vignette’s Home Couture located at 4828 Newport Ave. Tanya loves this store, and I was surprised to find the wide variety of gifts they had inside. Yes, some of the rooms housed antique items, but there were so many other rooms with an array of gift ideas. They carry both estate jewelry and more modern local artisan jewelry. They had loads of interesting home dÈcor products. Funky-fun chandeliers and candle-holders both vintage and modern looking. This place was a lot of fun, and was a pleasant surprise.
From there we walked down Newport and stopped in to Apogee Body Piercing. Apogee has been a fixture in Ocean Beach now for 15 years and it’s easy to see why. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and they have a huge selection of jewelry and experienced piercers. This holiday season they are offering free piercings on Sundays with the purchase of jewelry and the donation of two non-perishable food items. This only lasts thru December though. If someone you know already has piercings or would like some new holes in their body, this would be a great place to check out.
After talking with the good folks at Apogee, we made our way over to Santa Monica and stopped in one of our favorite new stores, OBcentric located at 4876 Santa Monica Ave. This is also the home of Saffran Packaging and Supply. So you can buy all your gifts here, and then have them shipped from the same location!
Creative director Danielle Eder explained it best when she said, “If the OB farmers market and Rock Paper Scissors had a love child, OBCentric would be it.” Mike and Lynette Saffran certainly have filled the void left by the closure of Rock Paper Scissors. You will find many of your favorite local artists inside the doors of OBCentric, and through the month of December, you will find them outside the doors as well! That’s because this month they will be spotlighting local artists on the sidewalk outside. Be sure not to miss this local gem as you complete your holiday shopping this season.
So far, we’ve touched on a lot of places to buy gifts that are artsy or jewelry oriented. But what about the boys? They need gifts too. That brought us back over to Newport Ave. to visit Galactic Comics located at 4981 Newport Ave. this is the place to shop for the boy gifts.
They have a great selection of comics, graphic novels and DVD’s. They also have a ton of really interesting action figures, t-shirts, movie posters and some completely random items like the Obama action figure or our personal favorite, the Obama “change” piggy bank. They’ve been in business here since 1994, and also boast a friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Perhaps comics and graphic novels aren’t your guys’ thing. Then he probably likes video games, and once again, Ocean Beach has got you covered. I stopped into Luna Video Games at 4837 Voltaire St. and spoke with the owner, Treg. Luna has been doing business in OB for 6 _ years and carries virtually all of the vintage and new video game systems and the games that go with them. I even spotted an Atari system on the shelf! They also carry a wide variety of X-box and Wii games and consoles. The guys who work here really know their stuff and can help suggest the right gift for you. Which is just one more advantage to shopping local.
We saved the sweetest for last. What better gift during the holidays than candy?! That’s right, our last stop was Beach Sweets. Owned and operated by Laura Smith and Eric Thompson for the past 2 _ years, Beach Sweets offers all sorts of fudge, specialty chocolates and candy bins. All of the chocolate is handmade in-house by Laura. Candies make the perfect stocking stuffer, and fudge makes the perfect treat to bring to your next holiday party. We particularly enjoyed the “Wipe-Out” a delicious blend of peanut butter, marshmallow and rice krispies. The perfect holiday treat.
I could go on and on about the variety of local places to shop. I’m sure I left out some of your favorites (fortunately the OBRag has a comment section where you can add ‘em in).
The Black always has great gift ideas. Gary Gilmore is our resident Goldsmith and makes some of the most stunning fine jewelry around, perfect for that special someone on your list. The Closet has loads of fashion accessories and clothing for the girls in your family. Whatever your favorite place to shop, make sure you pay them a visit this holiday season and let them know you support local businesses and their effort to keep OB special.
Also feel free to leave comments if you are a business owner I did not get to visit. Let us know if you are having any holiday specials or fun events we should be aware of.