Could This Be? The End of The Ocean Beach Farmer’s Market?

by on February 6, 2009 · 16 comments

in Economy, Ocean Beach

[Originally posted on Jan. 30, 2008. Reposted due to popular demand.]

The bright green flyers handed out at this weeks’ OB Farmers Market only told part of the story. A concerted letter writing campaign, orchestrated by the owners of Blondstone, is underway, asking City agencies to end or severely restrict the Farmer’s Market, the Holiday Parade and other OB events that include craft fairs.

Vendors at the Farmers Market have found themselves targeted by escalating inspections in recent weeks, as governmental agencies, responding to this campaign have been scrutinizing activities at the weekly market, which takes place every Wednesday on Newport Avenue, starting at 4pm.

According to the flyer, attempts by the OB Town Council to engage Blondstone’s owners in meaningful dialogue have been repeatedly rebuffed, and many vendors now fear that the Farmer’s Market may ultimately be shut down as a result of this campaign.

Supporters of the Farmer’s Market are being encouraged to contact the OB Town Council, OB Planning Board, OB Mainstreet Association and local elected representatives to voice your support for the continuance of these events.

In case you’ve been missing out on the weekly markets, we’ve included some photos with this posting.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Philly B January 29, 2009 at 10:41 pm

seriously? a freaking jewelry studio? before this article i couldn’t have told you what was in that store, mainly based on the name and the storefront aesthetics alone – but that’s my bias; but its for those exact reasons why i love the farmers market.
and the holiday parade? is blondstone run by a shiftly little dude with green fur and yellow eyes who abuses his dog and steals the food from the mouths of babes?
for shame on blondstone; for shame on those that support it; and for shame on those who don’t contact those links above to keep our events happening.


avatar jon January 30, 2009 at 8:51 am

I was at the market as I am every week, and somehow missed the green flyers. This is the first I’ve heard of such nonsense. Is there more information available? Copies of the Blondestone letters? I can’t imagine any storefront on Newport seriously discouraging something like the farmers market. Wouldn’t a weekly market only increase your stores visibility and opportunity for sales? People come from all over San Diego to visit our Wednesday markets. It would be silly for any store to want that to stop. I’m so sick of the campaign against fun stuff!


avatar Denny Knox, Executive Director of OBMA January 30, 2009 at 9:59 am

The Ocean Beach MainStreet Association sponsors the weekly OB Farmers Market. I would like to assure everyone that the City of San Diego has issued our permit for the Farmers Market for the next year (Jan. through Dec. 2009). Yes, we went through alot of investigations by all City and many County departments who were responding to multiple complaints by one local business. We didn’t call the media during the 5 or 6 months that we were dealing with this kind of scrutiny. We don’t like to bring negativity to any of our events as it isn’t what we are all about. We have made many improvements to the OB Farmers Market because we set up a committee to review the entire market. They found a few things we could improve upon and we did take immediate action. Gary Gilmore stepped up and currently chairs the OB Farmers Market Artisans committee to improve the mix of vendors in the side lots. Because of this, we have far more local artisans involved and committed to making the Farmers Market the great event that it is. This is our 17th year and we are proud to be associated with such a great weekly market. Thanks to the support from your readers and the OB Community.
Denny Knox
Executive Director
OB MainStreet Association


avatar Frank Gormlie January 30, 2009 at 10:18 am

Thanks everyone for your concern. And thanks Denny Knox for helping to fill in the blanks that were in every concerned person’s mind.


avatar mr fresh January 30, 2009 at 10:30 am

glad to hear that the market has its permits for this year. that fact doesn’t change the cloud of bad karma oozing out of a small store owned by small minded people. and it also doesn’t change the fact that many in our community take the market (which is a wonderful institution) for granted.
Please folks! show your support for the market. spend a few dollars there and come meet the many great people that make OB a unique and special community.


avatar jon January 30, 2009 at 11:09 am

I would be interested to know what the stores reasoning was for the complaints. Were there unlicensed vendors on their store front? Perhaps a greasy dude with a guitar panhandling and blocking the entrance?? There may have some justification if there were problems the store owner could not handle by themselves. Whatever the reason, I’m glad Denny responded to the posting quickly. And thanks to OBMA for putting this thing together week after week. It’s a big job and a huge benefit to the community. One of the many reasons we all love OB!


avatar Philly B January 30, 2009 at 1:43 pm

hooray! guess i didn’t need to send an angry email after all.


avatar K-dog January 30, 2009 at 3:11 pm


Merchant Type Number of this Merchant Type

Llamas 1

T-shirts/clothing 9

Produce/Fruit 17

Plants/Flowers 7

Jewelers 14

Juice 3

And breads 12

Jams 5

Foods prepared 22

Photos/Artists 3

Aromatherapy 2

Glassware 1

Soaps/Giftware 1

Pet ID’s/access. 1

Butterfly/exotic art 2

Rugs 1

Peddlers (non farmers market merchants) – 1

Political (non farmers market) – 2

There were two political tables set up, collecting money for pins/stickers, which we alerted David to – he had not ok’d them at the F.M. – they told us they had gone through all the steps and been approved to be there, which was not the case.

At the 4920 block area, the photographer is putting a board over the planter box for his displays. David should be alerted to this.

Several of the merchants had their wares on the sidewalk. Most all the merchants had their tents/canopies on the sidewalk and some on the tiles. We are unaware if David ok’d this or not – we need to find out the protocol for their canopies whether they are allowed on the sidewalks. Nothing should be on the tiles.

One jeweler in the Rock/Paper/Scissors had merchandise that was obviously not hand-made.

We mentioned to David about the rotation of merchants on Newport Avenue who are misc. vendors – not produce or flowers; we asked him to speak with Gary about this. I do think they should be rotated. Should David attend our meetings?

We spoke with several merchants who are discouraged, especially in the artists area, because of low sales, who stated they may be leaving the F.M. I think if the rotation began, it would help their sales and perhaps help them to stay.

The sidewalks were absolutely filthy. Most likely from Oktoberfest.

Personally, and this is only my PERSONAL opinion, I do have to agree with Heidi that there are an over-abundance of jewelers in the market, and I can see where she would be frustrated as a merchant. Because if there were 14 other pet supply merchants in the market every week, I would also be concerned about it. I can also understand their aggravation with the peddlers, no matter what they are selling, who are not involved with farmers market, pay no overhead, and set up shop on Newport Avenue. All of us merchants, especially in this economy, can understand the frustrations associated with this situation, and none of us wants them there. I am unaware of why they are still there each week, but I understand it’s not the OBMA’s place to physically remove them from private property. Has anyone contacted the owner of the building to ensure they have given their permission for this peddler to be there, and the problems it is causing merchants in the area? I do think the OBMA does all they can do for the merchants of O.B. and I am not taking a stand in either direction of this situation; however, I just have to say, especially after the count of F.M. merchants, that I can empathize with the frustration. I don’t condone the behavior with which the frustration has been expressed, however. Maybe we could put a cap on the amount of jewelers in the market. It is a fairly high number already. We can discuss this stuff at the meetings. And although the Farmers Market does not increase business for me personally, I still think it’s great for Ocean Beach and brings more people to our streets – I’m happy for the exposure and hopefully will get future customers from it.


avatar Russ January 30, 2009 at 4:31 pm

I would think that any storefront would benefit from the market, though from the above comment maybe that’s not the case. But it seems silly for a store owner to bring this sort of attention to themselves, in fact, I would guess that as word gets out that Blondestone is complaining about the farmer’s market, it may actually negatively impact their sales. As a consumer, knowing that a particular shop is trying to shut down or restrict something as great as the Farmer’s Market and remove a staple event from the community would make me walk past that storefront in the future rather than explore inside and possibly spend my money there. I would think that any business operating in OB would support all the excellent local activities, especially considering that a lot of what goes on in OB is precisely what makes it OB, and why it has remained one of the few places left in this city with any real character.


avatar doug porter January 31, 2009 at 10:41 am

shane from blondstone has contacted us, wanting to tell his side of the story. so, hold on folks, there’s more coming on this story in the next few days.


avatar Garry January 31, 2009 at 8:11 pm

I would like to hear the complaints laid out from the folks at Blondstone. If they are legit points of concern, which may work towards improving the Farmers Market, that is one thing. However, if Blondstone is trying to ‘shut down’ the farmers market because it’s not good for their business that is another. The Farmers Market is loved by not only Ocean Beach residents, but people from all over San Diego. Ocean Beach is a fun place to be every Wednesday because of the FM. And the event has been going on for about 15 more years than Blondstone has been on Newport. I look forward to hearing more facts. Vote anyone? Blondstone or Farmers Market?

OB has it’s own way of dealing with things like this. I don’t think the Farmers Market is going anywhere! And if it does shut down, Blondstone might as well move to Pacific Beach, because…well…enough said.


avatar j.stone February 1, 2009 at 10:43 am

Yea same old shit. Blondstone thinks there are to many jewelers, but I bet they subscribe to free market economic ideas in general or they wouldn’t be in business. If they are afraid of competition they should lower their prices or offer something none of the other jewelers have. It’s called capitalism. Lets wait to see what their complaints are, but I’m willing to bet it’s about not making enough money when the market the or street fair is there one day a week.


avatar Garry February 3, 2009 at 6:40 am

I’m beginning to suspect that Blondstone is bringing a little of their “La Jolla Village” ideal to OB. It’s only my opinion, but when I discovered that they had a location there, the light bulb came on.

The people of OB love the Farmers Market. That’s the important thing here. If it’s not up to Blondstone’s sparkling standard, then why did they open shop on Newport?


avatar Jettyboy February 3, 2009 at 8:36 am

So when will we hear from Shane from Blondstone? I’m thinking he might have thought this would all just go away, or is working on a way to make Blondstone not appear as selfish as it looks. I’m very curious how his response will be worded when/if he responds, as I bet many others here are. Keep us informed please Mr. Rag ;)


avatar Frank Gormlie February 3, 2009 at 9:27 am

Our reporter, Doug Porter, will be speaking with him this week. Stay tuned, dear friends.


avatar laci laplant February 17, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Heidi and Shane Smith are not opposed to jewelry made in overseas sweatshops; they sell those very goods in their store, at steeply inflated prices, and often neglect to inform customers that they are purchasing jewelry made by minors in Bali. What the Smiths do oppose is competition–their cutthroat attitude is apparently extended to lowly street vendors who only materialize once a week, but the threat is significant enough for the Smiths to have launched their years-long vendetta. If it hasn’t been made clear already, the Smiths have no respect for OB or the locals–they view the Newport Ave. store as a necessary evil to help finance their La Jolla location, where most of Heidi’s better work is for sale. The Smiths stay in OB thanks to the lower rent and the locals’ tendency to support Newport Ave. businesses, and their ability to bully the OB Merchant’s Association into enforcing the elimination of any competition.


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