Dr Jefe Answers His Critics On the Closing of Rock Paper Scissors

by on February 25, 2009 · 65 comments

in Economy, Media, OB Shop Talk, Ocean Beach, San Diego

(Originally posted on Feb. 19th, now re-posted due to popular demand.)

OCEAN BEACH, CA.  I finally sat down with Dr Jefe inside the hollow chamber once known as Rock Paper Scissors and got his side of the controversies surrounding the closing of the popular arts and crafts store. It had suddenly closed without notice earlier this month.

In an earlier post, I had repeated some heavy charges made by his former vendors, vendors who had corroborated each others tales of woe at the hands of Dr Jefe.  We had claims that Dr Jefe – who is actually Jeff Fagan – had raised December rents knowing full well he was going to close his establishment in the new year; that he had not paid vendors back their Feb. rents or their security deposits, that a number of vendors’ checks from Fagan for December had bounced, and that he, after months of planning, suddenly sprang the closure on the vendors and gave them only a couple of days to get their wares out. ….

Rock Paper Scissors had become one of OB’s favorite stores and all were saddened when the doors were shut. I wanted to give Fagan his due – and soon.  Then in the middle of today’s shopping, he called me and we set up a time to meet at the store.

Jeff Fagan has an import store right across the street under the Rock Paper Scissors name, which he just opened. That’s where I found him. We shook hands and walked across the street, going into the former store for our discussion.  Not a stocky guy, by any account, Fagan definitely strikes you as a big man, the way he carries himself about, with a bald top and black shot of facial hair, his nature being generally an affable if intense one.

Craig Klein, Fagan’s lawyer and friend also accompanied us. Craig is on the OB Planning Board and is active in the community. He is also married to Julie Klein, a prominent businesswoman on Newport, and he surfs I hear.  Once inside, I found a place to sit down – not an easy chore given the state of the store – and then found we were being joined by Faith – Fagan’s store manager, and by Saad, the landlord.

The inside was just about totally bare. A worker was cleaning one of the walls, a few people bustled about. You could see where whoever was doing the sweeping had stopped, and a long line of collected dirt crossed the cavernous room. It was sad. The place we knew as Rock Paper Scissors will never be again. There might be an arts and crafts co-op in its stead under another name but RPS is gone.  Or, given the state of the economy, it might be something totally different – or it might sit vacant like half a dozen other storefronts in Ocean Beach.  But it had been a beautiful place and ya have to give credit to whoever pulled it off and brought it together. And that, of course, was Dr Jefe. I openly admit, it was  one of my favorite stores on Newport.

So, there we were, Dr Jefe, his lawyer, his manager and his landlord. Jeff had a hard copy of my earlier post and he wanted to just go down the list of accusations and answer them, which he preceded to do without hesitation. He seemed frustrated, upset, but did not exhibit any anger, and was very courteous to me.

Over-all, Jeff denied most of the charges leveled against him, making it seem that of all 140 vendors, only a handful had any legitimate gripes against him.

When he opened the store in 2006, he formed an LLC then, not more recently. One charge was that he had just formed it, so it would protect him if sued.  Fagan also said he had not been considering bankruptcy either last Fall.

Jeff was very emphatic that he did not decide to close RPS until February 2nd. There was no prior planning or plotting.  Business had been going down, and he claimed that he tried to do everything in his power to keep the store open.

But the day he had received his financial statements, he knew the store could no longer go on. So he decided on the spot to close the place down. It was February 2nd. He wrote a letter to all the vendors letting them know, giving them until the end of the month – February – to retrieve their goods.

Fagan flatly and categorically denied collecting any rents from vendors for February, so there was no monies to give back for that month.

No, in fact, he had been doing all he could to keep the business running, to provide a place for all the vendors.  Trying to do a third re-fi on his house in order to keep the place going went no where. He had pumped $50 grand of his own money into the business a year ago, he said.  Jeff said he had been “overly optimistic” in thinking he could keep the business going, looking back on it.

Jeff’s landlord got into it. He owns Apple Tree (and other properties). Repeating himself a bit, he made it clear that he had worked with Jeff “to make things happen”and done everything imaginable to keep the doors open. And that he knew Jeff had been doing all he could as well. More than any of the vendors, Saad said, he was the one who had been hurt financially by the downturn at RPS.  Saad, in an aside, said he lost his shirt when Gold’s Gym moved out without making any repairs. But now Jeff was cleaning up the building.

We focused for a few minutes on last December. First, Fagan denied raising vendors’ rents that month, although he said he raised rents on just a couple of vendors in November.  Maybe five vendors had had their rents raised.  Faith, the manager, added that they had been trying to get all the rents at the same rate.  Jeff said no one had anticipated how bad sales were going to be in December, traditionally a retailer’s best month. They had come in way under expectations.  But he denied that he had gone around and told everybody that everything was going well.

Almost all the vendors were paid for December, Jeff claimed. Although he admitted that some had had their checks  bounce, and needed to be paid.  Jeff said he owned  vendors a total of $15,000 for that month.

Understandably, Fagan bristled over the allegation that he owed vendors up to a quarter million dollars. He said it was closer to only $20,000.  3/4’s of that was from the dive in December. The remainder were their deposits and monies from January. On the allegation that vendors had lost January monies, Fagan admitted, that yes, he too, his father, his son – they were all vendors and they all lost. None of them were paid in January.  Fagan said that he didn’t owe a lot of back rents, as he didn’t collect first and last months rents, just the first rent and a security deposit.

I asked him what was his plan to pay the vendors. He said he is liquidating his assets. We all looked around the cavern and didn’t see much.  Then Fagan added that it is costly to clean up the building but he’s paying for it. He and Faith both said they were planning to pay the vendors back on a percentage basis.  “I have no money,” he said, with his hands outstretched.

Fagan did go to Asia this past summer and make purchases of wares to sell. That was his usual routine. He is into retail. The things he bought were for sale here, in his retail store. If he had been planning on closing why would he, Fagan asked, spent so much on retail goods. His current business is only wholesale.

Faith, the manager, assured me that all the employees had been paid.  And, Fagan said his lease with Saad is month-to-month, so no, he did not have another year on it.

What about the plans for a co-op, I asked. Here, both Fagan and Saad, the landlord, made it clear that they’re still in negotiations. Jeff wants to set up a co-operative, where 5 or 6 leaseholders would rent directly from the landlord, and manage their own sales.  He envisions a place where independent businesses could be under one roof. And where he would not be directly involved, but would be the facilitator. Jeff proudly added that both the Town Council and the business association back this idea of the co-op.  But it could not be called Rock Paper Scissors.  That business failed.

Saad said, however, if someone walked into the building at that moment wanting to lease it, that would be the deal.

We ended our interview and shook hands. I stood up and departed the old building, once a straight-laced branch of Bank of America for decades. Once again it had been cleaned out.  The ol’ building certainly has had its share of standing empty. Now its future was in doubt.  Will it be a co-op?  Will it once again bustle with the anticipation that quality goods bring? Will it stand as an empty shell, reminding all who pass by of the economic slide that has hit Newport? Will it join a growing list of vacant storefronts that remind us of the economic turmoil we all face?

One thing is for sure. Rock Paper Scissors put a smile on every one’s face who walked through its doors. Dr Jefe did that. Whether hard times pushed him to take desperate measures that hurt those he says he was helping or whether a handful of hard-to-please vendors with an attitude are stirring things up, we will continue to hunt for the light in the shadows.

We’re a blog. No one here works on this internet thing full time. We don’t get paid. We have meager resources. But when people from our community approach us with genuine and earnest complaints, we listen. Now, Dr Jefe has answered his critics. Whether the community has heard him or not will be reflected in part in whether vendors come forth to set up his design of a cooperative.

In the meantime, what do you think?

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

mr fresh February 19, 2009 at 9:35 pm

more than fair, frank. i wish you’d had the guy from that tv show “Lie to Me” with you, so you could have some idea of how much smoke was being blown… now it’s up to you, OBcians. What collective wisdom do we have to add to this mix?


Patty Jones February 19, 2009 at 9:52 pm

mr fresh, you’re such an instigator. :-P


OBilluminator February 20, 2009 at 7:26 am

It is very important to shine some more light on this still murky affair.

In the first place everyone should understand that at RPS Jefe collected more than rent and a management fee. Whenever a vendor sold a product – the result of his/her work, time, investment, or handicraft or when ROOTS sold a wrap, etc – the money paid went into Jefe’s cash register. On many days before Christmas these sales amounted to over $10,000 per day. This is the vendors’ own money, collected and held for them by Jefe. This was never his money. Yet some of this money from December and all of it from January has been kept by Jefe and not paid to vendors. This must amount to some tens of thousands of dollars. He kept it and it wasn’t his to begin with – doesn’t this amount to some kind of stealing?

Meanwhile in January Jefe wearing his other hat (financed by ????)went with his staff (same person who worked in RPS) to wholesale gift shows in New York City and San Francisco and is now planning to go on a shopping trip to Thailand. Where is he getting the money to do this? and why isn’t he using this money to make his vendors whole?

Finally it seems to me that any person who runs a business for three years should be aware of its financial condition. The vendors certainly did and were worried as over the past year as their payment checks were often delayed because of lack of money in the bank. Saying he decided to close in a period of a few days to me seems only a public way of giving an excuse for trashing the vendors. Jefe should not go to Thailand – use the money to make the vendors whole.


mysto-cliff dweller February 20, 2009 at 9:06 am

OB Illuminator: A fewquestions; If money from daily sales in December was used to pay rent, payroll, utilities and other creditors of RPS, in order to keep the doors open, how does this amount to “some kind of stealing”? Your comment implies that Jeff pocketed the money. What proof do you have that December and January revenues were not used to pay RPS operating expenses? Does it matter that Jeff lost the $50,000 in equity which he refinanced out of his house and contributed to RPS to keep the business open?


Jeff Fagan aka Dr. jefe February 20, 2009 at 9:07 am

Directed to the OBilluminator, If your trying to enlighten the OB community about this terrible situation. First of all Roots is on there own. Roots had paid me rents,but not a penny of there sales went to me. I only recieved a discount on the food. As far as the wholesale company goes, this was just a good business decission. I knew that my lease was going to end in 2010 and I had to have something to fall back on. I wanted a good year to establish this wholesale company. And as far as the money to start this company ( not that it’s any of your business) was raised by my december 2007 sales. I had the #1 selling booth at Rock Paper Scissors. My wholesale started of very small and is still quite small. The only way to make things grow is to re-invest your money back into something to grow your inventory. In other words the wholesale company was a separate entity which has it’s own Tax filings. Thank G_D I have another job which I hope will Be able to support My family and I. And yes there were a couple of days we did as good as you said, but not nearly as many as RPS should have. Anyone who accually Knows me knows that I have the best intentions to help people and the community. I Really wanted to make RPS the center of Ocean Beach and a place which local artists and jewelers could have a place to do business without long term leases. Most people never have an opportunity to be involved in retail. I gave that to them. Also I would like to thank FRANK GORMILE for meeting with me yesterday. I believe frank and many more of you might now have a better understanding of my situation and fact from fiction. Thank you Ocean Beach for all your support through the years. I’m still here and will be for a long time.


Dog Beach Dude February 20, 2009 at 9:14 am

Too bad it wasn’t Blondstone that shut it’s doors forever instead of RPS, there’d be dancing in the streets. Oh, well, give it time folks, it shouldn’t be long now.


lane tobias February 20, 2009 at 9:46 am

I still think the vendors that are owed something deserve their money before this goes away.


obtransplant February 20, 2009 at 10:25 am

Jeff, pay rent? You might want to verify that with his landlord.


K-dog February 20, 2009 at 10:53 am

We have to choose between out of town table vendors setting up and selling import merchandise with no overhead in “craft fairs” and the businesses on Newport Ave.

To have 9 parasites “craft fairs” set up in Veterans Park poaching customers and taking what little parking is available, especially the three Saturdays leading up to Christmas will kill what is left of the smaller mom and pop stores. We will be overrun by the local versions of the big box stores, Wings etc.

To turn the Farmers Market into an out of town import merchandise bizarre and squeeze out the farmer and local artisans is just wrong. Allowing the local government organizations to stage these type of events during prime shopping times is wrong.

The business community spent years turning the Farmers Market into a very special event. Visitors would come to Newport Avenue and buy fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh bread, flowers and check out local artisans at the market, and then shop the local merchants. Four years ago without any communication with the community or the local merchants the OBMA expanded the market into parking lots, brought in out of town merchants and started to squeeze out the local farmers.

Just take a look for your self.

The idea that visitors are going to return later to shop the stores on Newport is false. Wednesday is the day to shop Newport Ave, and why would they come back later when they can find clothing, jewelry, surfboards etc. at a fraction of what a merchant with overhead and employees can sell items for.

The Farmer’s market as it was originally conceived and local artisan events are important to our community and are a major part of what makes OB, OB. If done properly with an understanding of their impact they can benefit the community without hurting the local retail stores that are struggling more than ever. During these hard times we need the OBMA and the Town Council to be finding creative ways to support the community not trying to maximize their own profits. OB has a reputation as a town not willing to allow the government to take advantage of it and it is surprising that this has gone on this way for so long.
I feel bad for the merchants who are being bullied, slandered and attacked for speaking out about this situation. There are many more who would speak out but as we have seen the hate and the bullying by an angry few has intimidated them to shut up and watch from the sidelines as there businesses weaken more and more everyday.

No one has mentioned Girls From The Park. That was a great little business that should have been a huge hit. The Wednesday market should have been her best day, but she eventually closed shop on Wednesday because the market was more trouble than it was worth to be open. Sadly they are gone.

It should help the local merchants who care about the community to know that the super haters spewing there lies and negativity are mostly the parasite importers and bitter failures who do not have the influence they think they do.

I do not believe this type of bullying, intimidation and lies are what makes OB, OB. And I hope the real OB is still there, even if they are scared to speak up.


jon February 20, 2009 at 11:01 am

As much as I slammed Jeff earlier for shoddy business practices (15 years ago), I don’t think the guy is a thief. Whether or not the LLC misappropriated vendors funds will be up to the courts to decide if it goes that far. There’s a big difference between Jeff directly profiting from the rents and sales than from the LLC using those funds to try and keep the store open and eventually failing. I think this is going to be going on for a while. I feel for everyone involved. These things are never neat. I do have to give Jeff some credit for not deflecting any blame on other people “a la Blondestone” and having the guts to respond directly to his critics on this board.


Vendorspokes February 20, 2009 at 11:01 am

Okay, some basics:

Jeff Fagan did not just collect rents. When customers came into the store and bought goods, Jeff’s employees would collect the money and put it in the store’s cash box. Then at the end of the pay period, vendors would receive their monies. This is/was their money, paid for their goods, their art, their work, etc. So, when this money is NOT paid back to the vendors, as what happened in January, that is some kind of theft, is it not? It is the vendors’ money. We did not allow Jeff to take it and use it for whatever, even if it was to used to pay utilities, his rent, etc. Those expenses were his responsibilities.

And it is simply not true that Jeff told everyone that business was bad. Just the opposite. Based on his “optimism” some vendors in January went out and re-stocked their shelves post-Christmas. Then less than a month later, Jeff closes the doors and does not pay the vendors.

IF as Jeff says he had 140 vendors, multiply that by whatever is owed them for January – use a conservative estimate of $400 to $1000 – and you have quite a tidy sum. He should pay them back before he leaves for Thailand to buy more imports, or before he goes to another expensive show.

Watch for this issue to be on Turko’s Files soon.


OB Joe February 20, 2009 at 11:22 am

Okay, briefly: In Gormlie’s post he says Jeff told him he had a month-to-month lease, but in Jeff’s comment above, the same Jeff said: “I knew that my lease was going to end in 2010 …” So, which is it Jeff? Did you have a month to month or is your lease up next year?


Frank Gormlie February 20, 2009 at 11:26 am

Yes, Joe, I can verify that Jeff told me he had a month-to-month lease at Rock Paper Scissors. His comment here does seem to contradict that.


jon February 20, 2009 at 11:55 am

Vendorspokes: I still think there is a line, as fine as it may be, between “theft” and poor business practices/management. One is not any better than the other, but they are different issues. Although, I could be wrong. I’m just a guy posting a message on a blog. I admittedly do not know the whole story. I do really enjoy reading everyones take on this volatile topic. And I think you all have some very good points on both sides of the spectrum. It’s clear that everyone cares deeply for our community.


OhBeachMum February 20, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Jefe, I’m with jon – I admire your chutzpah in posting here – shows you are committed to the community and care about what people say.

Rag, thanks for the post, and getting more sides.

Frankly, none of us are privy or even entitled to the terms of RPS’s lease agreement, the amounts of monies paid or due, etc. This was not a publicly held company, and you’d do best to keep that information where it needs to be, Doc – with the involved vendors, you, and the attorneys/representatives. As far as we know, the month-to-month lease terms could have been negotiated starting in 2009, or at fiscal year end in Oct 08, be for the wholesale operation, who knows. It’s really irrelevant to any of us.

Again, without being privy to the books $400 – $1000 is a little more than “conservative” by my accounting…Some vendors surely sold none/only a few items a month because a) their products were no good, b) they were no good at merchandising or c) the market was not there. I mean, some stuff was pretty home-made. The $15,000 to owed among 140 vendors comes to barely over $100 each. Is that what we’re bickering about here? A $107 cost of doing business? After 2+ successful years with the store? Really? (Surely some more, some less).

If I had to give my best guest, the complaining vendors are likely the ones who were given the less-than-market rents for so long, some other benefit or help from the business/Fagan at some point; or those who’ve reaped a lion’s share, with premium spaces, etc; those who invested little of their own effort in anything besides their own interests, but expected the best of the best outcomes.

Good vendors will know when the business is down. Was last year/December spectacular for anyone? That being said, what did you do to change your operation, make more money, suggest alternatives to bring in more business? No, no, please don’t exert any effort – just sit back and collect your non-existent profits now. The good vendors will also find a way to collect their due monies: by the accounts in this article, it’s with a small claim against the LLC. I’ll tell you a good way to NOT get your money: stay here, spread rumors and gossip. Turko won’t go for this – Fagan is too up front with his practices for this to be even near juicy enough.

The complaining public is starting to sound like some bitchy ex-girlfriends, or people with standing personal vendettas…(Jeff, were you involved with any actual business people? Don’t answer that. But food for thought when you start your next venture…)

I’ll say it again – emotion will get the better of you here. Haters hate, that’s what they do. Don’t take it personally. Do the next right hing. If you want to gossip, let’s move on: what is Brittany Spears up to?


Jeff Fagan February 20, 2009 at 12:34 pm

O.K. Listen. Rock Paper Scissors had a four year lease. I first year was a sure thing. After our 12th month we were on a month to month until april of 2010. It is that simple. The landlords were unsure of their future at appletree, so they wanted to leave their options open like the good business owners they are. As far as the $400 – $1000 estimates per vendor. If that was the case we would have had no problem staying open. On average out of our 140 vendors only about Half of them would recieve checks for thear sales the other half owed RPS money because of their low sales. Yes, I was always possitive about the future of RPS. For those of you with possitive views I thank you. And the rest of you obviously have no clue how hard or how much work it takes to run a business, especially this size. That’s why you came to me, because you (the Vendors)did’nt want to deal with all the headaches of having your own shop. I did’nt build this business and pour ALL my money into it, for it to fail.
I hope some of you understand.


Molly February 20, 2009 at 1:01 pm

This dialogue is great. I’m really enjoying this. OBceans are airing our own problems and discussing them out in the open. Isn’t this better than calling in the City government or the cops (eh Blondstone?) or resorting to the legal system (maybe some vendors will sue Jefe)?

Obeachmum – I disagree a bit with you. It’s true it’s none of our business if everything is going good. But if a businessperson is ripping people off, that’s our business. If a vendor is selling shoddy merchadise, that’s our business. If a landlord is trying to make as much money as he/she can by raising rents which forces retailers out of Newport and in turn changes our main street into a shadow of its former self, that’s our business too.


OB Joe February 20, 2009 at 1:21 pm

I agree with you Molly (for a change, huh?) and it’s cool to have a local blog to do all this in.

That old building, formerly B of A sure saw some interesting times, yes? I recall an anti-vietnam war demo outside its doors back in the early seventies. we were protesting BofA’s support of Nixon’s war. In fact there’s some photos of that demo on the wall either in Tony’s bar or at Sunshine.

I also find it interesting that the Farmers Market/ Blondstone discussion has filtered over into this issue. I guess they are related. People in OB do care what happens on Newport Ave as its our showcase street in a way. Business sections of a community reflect on that community. OB did not have any corporate franchises on Newport for a long time.

That’s why some of us were so upset with $tarbuck$. Not that their coffee was bad or that their employees are evil people. It’s just that we knew that once a corporate franchise successfully planted its profit flag on our street, more would follow, which is what did happen in a small measure. The big boys – the corporate franchises – could afford to pay higher rents. The property owners know this, so why not raise the rents of locally-owned mom-pop stores by 3000% so the big boys can move in, right?

I ask you now, is this not a truism? Those of us who fought Starbucks received alot or resistance from other businesses on Newport and OBMA was not supportive of our efforts AT ALL !! Why weren’t they? Why couldn’t the business leadership understand or was greed clouding their vision? If you allowed one corporate franchise in, the landlords would see that. And they would raise their rents. Why didn’t more of the merchants join with us in order to keep Starbucks out? We were too hippy? Excuse me, but we are your customers. If someone from the merchants group could explain to me their stance, I would really appreciate it.

There is some real genuine greed on Newport. We’re all not just a happy family. Most of us love OB. Some of us use OB to make more and more monies off that ‘love.’ Some of that greed is within the hearts of the major Newport Ave property owners. Remember that the next time you see an empty storefront on Newport.

Most OBceans love our town, our village. Many of us understand that our beloved village took some heartache and work to keep. There’s always threats against OB whether in the form of high rents, gentrification, high tides and flooding, dismal municipal services, closing of our library, parks, skate parks, Rec center.

If you love OB, call our councilman Faulconer and ask him why there’s no community budget meeting in our community or even in our council district? Plus attend the downtown budget hearing on Feb 25th downtown at 9 or so. Yeah, I know, the surf will be up that day, the sun will probably be shining, and it will be nice and warm here at the beach. But if our library closes, who cares if theres surf, dude.

sorry about the long rant, but i got a few things off my chest. why don’t you.


OhBeachMum February 20, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Hey Molly – this is great, what a string, you’re right!

And I don’t disagree. The more attention we pay and support we lend, the more successful our communities are. In this case, the building owner was present for the follow up article which leads me to believe he’s not a rent raising tenant monster. It seems like all parties did what they could, and are still doing what they can to find some better opportunity for the business and community, and I’m glad to hear it.

That being said, what would I, a citizen of the community, do with information like knowing exactly how much a vendor was owed, or the nature of the lease agreement? What I want to know is that the effort was made to keep the business in town and successful, support OB commerce (sounds like it was), I didn’t knowingly contribute to anything illegal or wrong by supporting the business (doesn’t sound like I did), if I’ll have faith to supoprt this business/person if it/he wants to come back into my community (I think I will).

It’s through this forum and the back-and-forth that I’m able to make those choices. I’ll continue to not sweat the small stuff. Great blog!


Larry OB February 20, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Coronado has an art show twice a month in a park. Perhaps OB people could do something similar at Collier Park or elsewhere. I don’t think OB artisans need a 7 day a week brick and mortar location. I think occasional art shows where you can actually meet the artist in person are much better than swap meet style markets. Here’s a link to the Coronado Art Association:



obtransplant February 20, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Dr. Jeffe up front???? Like the whizzard of OZ said, don’t look behind the curtain!


Dog Beach Dude February 20, 2009 at 2:21 pm

K-dog say’s “I do not believe this type of bullying, intimidation and lies are what makes OB, OB. And I hope the real OB is still there” and yet in the very same blog he called some of our local nomadic business people “parasites” for setting up 3 weekends in December to simply try to make a living. Which is it k-dog, are they the “real OB” or “parasites”? A lot of those so called parasites are your friends and neighbors.

OB Joe rocks! He has a very good overview and makes the most OB-vious sense for our little slice of heaven.

Jeff, thanks for manning up and not hiding. I’m not saying I buy everything you said, but you did do a lot more for the arts here in OB than Blondstone ever could hope to.

Frank, carry on….


K-dog February 20, 2009 at 8:16 pm

I’m guessing Dog Beach Dude is one of the parasites, sitting in his garage printing OB logos on shirts made in china and claiming to be an artist. He will set up his both where every he can, undercut the local merchants that are trying to make a living in OB seven days a week and spew hate and lies at anyone who dares question his actions. This is the mentality that is running the true artisans out of Ocean Beach and keeps any business with a clue from opening a business in our great little town. Keep it up people, lets see how it plays out.


OB Rhythm Rancher February 20, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Oh K-dog?

Are you sure you want to hook your harness up to Blondstone’s dog & pony act? OB has supported you to the point that you’re out of that tiny place on Santa Monica & now running with the big dogs on Newport. But look how you repay us, by calling us names. It’s hard to spend our hard earned dollars on/with someone like that…I mean would you?

Yes, your prices are high but you have zero competition here (even on Wednesdays) so my advice to you is to pick your battles. Oh, and the next time you want to go on a red-state rant about “the real OB” just ask yourself first; Are sure that you want to throw away all that good-will that you’ve tried to build all these years? Because in reality, you’re just trying to make the fruitless point that it’s your world, and that rest of us are taking up way too much space in it.

I doubt that any city on your East coast would have been as kind to you & your fledgling business as we have been to you, but if I’m wrong…well, you know where I-8 east starts. That’s cool, prove me wrong, I double-dog dare ya. ;)

Remember K-dog, when you lie down with Jackels, you’ll wake up with something far harder to get rid of than a simple parasite, bad press is like Herpes b/c it stays with you FOR-EVER. So for the good of the Farmers Market, your biz and ALL of OB I respectfully say, down girl.


Just Sayin' February 20, 2009 at 11:25 pm

The diversity of opinions in this discussion is great, but the animosity is bumming me out. Sniping about a street of stores we all shop at and a farmer’s market we all love to go to is counterproductive at a certain point.

These stores struggling is just proof of how we could be looking at some tough challenges in the not so distant future here in OB.

United we stand, divided we fall.


jon February 21, 2009 at 7:13 am

The businesses that are worried about not getting enough traffic during the FM should “take it to the street.” Close up shop on Wednesday and get a booth out there. These businesses should be given a discount by OBMA and be able to put their cart directly in front of (facing) their storefront. Seems like a simple solution. But anyway, we’re starting to veer off topic. :)


obtransplant February 21, 2009 at 8:48 am

Dr. Jeffe does have CHUTZpah; he seems to think this will blow over for him. I think it is just the beginning of his sad downfall. He only seems to care about his IMAGE in this community, not actually the community itself. But really who knows? It sounds as though Oh beach mum is a friend of Jeff, and is too close to his constant story. “Poor me, I screwed them over” is what I am hearing. It is like the kid who kills his parents and then wants pity because he is an orphan. If you think the whining vendors were the ones paying less than market rents, where did you hear that???? HMMMM? If they were paying less, it was probably because that was what was negotiated. That is where two parties agree on something. :)
I agree, stay on topic folks


Gary Gilmore February 21, 2009 at 9:05 am

K-Dog, This is for you. Pay attention. This neighborhood is unique in that it fosters an attitude that is conducive to creativity. Having jewelers as well as other artisans in a popular farmers market will make Ocean Beach a focus for interesting, dynamic, exclusive and extraordinary crafts which in turn will bring in a customer who appreciates and purchases this kind of art. If you focus on being an artisan and put out good designs and quality work you’ll have nothing to worry about. Quality will endure. It’s my opinion that if an artisan fears competition it’s because they have no confidence in themselves and it will eventually show up in their designs. I want to see Ocean Beach grow as an artist colony because I believe that creativity breeds more creativity. True artists feed off of each other making each individual a better and more enthused artist. The artisans you and Blondstone fear are not competition but assets to our neighborhood and will create a focus on quality crafts that will be recognized by the greater San Diego community. It is my opinion that a potential jewelry buyer is not going to pass up a piece of jewelry that they have seen in your shop and fallen in love with for a piece they saw elsewhere no matter the cost. Now, if you’d quit frothing at the mouth and pay attention to what is good in this neighborhood you might make yourself to be a better person.


K-dog February 21, 2009 at 9:42 am

The artisans in Rock Papers Scissors would disagree with Gary. But Gary is in a position to improve his business by running any competing jewelry merchants out of town.

On the day the local business community has worked for years to be the best day to shop Ocean Beach we see customers spending their money with merchants that the OBMA has brought from out of town. These merchants can offer their products at a fraction of what the merchants that pay rent and employ locals can. They are not here seven days a week, sweeping the sidewalks and supporting the local community. They get to set up at only the prime foot-trafic times. Many of their products are mass produced imports. A Farmers Market should be a Farmers Market and any one who thinks the Wednesday market should be for out of town peddler is either one of these peddlers or is trying to under mine the local Merchants.

In these very difficult times the funky little Brick and Mortar retailers on Newport need more support than ever. Whether they are selling clothing, surfboards, gift items etc., every purchase made with an out of town peddler is money that in not staying in the local economy. No matter how much you would like to run any competing businesses out of our town, you must acknowledge the concept of the Farmers Market has changed for the worse in the last four years.

Ocean Beach has allowed the local government agency (OBMA) to hijack its farmers market and the effects are starting to show.

If the Market was as it was originally intended Wednesday would have been a great day for the artisans in Rock Paper Scissors. That’s four great sales days a month that could have made a huge difference in their bottom line.

Give us our market back; return the market to its original concept!

So keep it up haters, those who truly love OB know what is real and what is greed.

If this blog is just haters, I must have misunderstood what the OB Rag is and will gladly remove myself from this string.


Patty Jones February 21, 2009 at 10:38 am

K-dog and all, we appreciate your point of view on these issues and that you have taken the time to contribute your comments. I hope you continue to read and comment on other issues and realize that the people involved here, writers, readers and commentors, are not just haters but are in fact quite the opposite. Some may be on opposite sides of the fence, but all care about the community.


OBilluminator February 21, 2009 at 11:21 am

Question: What are the facts re RPS booth rental?
Answer: 1. Each vendor payed TOP dollar for their booths -$10 a square foot to be exact. (ie a 500 sq. ft. booth cost $500 each month. a 10×10 cost $1000, a 10×12 cost $1200.etc.) Multiply these rents by 140 and you know how very much Jeff was collecting. But this rent from 140 booths from various sized booths was just the beginning. Then the vendors payed 13% on EACH and EVERY object that was bought in the store in their particular booth. This amounted to an enormous amount of money that the store took in.
Question: What did Jeff do to his vendors?
In January he kept ALL the money that came into the shop. He STOLE money from 140 vendors.Not one vendor received a pay check for all their items sold. Jeff sent out a letter in one day and said”the store is closing and I have no money to give you.” These goods were not his. He did not pay for them.Thus the vendors were subject to his buffonery, his inappropriate business practices, his lack of keeping proper records and his dishonest GREED.
Question? What else did Jeff do?
Answer: Because he closed so quickly without one month notice to his vendors, he kept 140 deposits that were given to him when each person rented their booth initially. He collected first month and a deposit which equalled the last months rent. Thus if a booth cost $1000 to rent, when that vendor moved in, they had to pay $2000. Multiply those thousands times 140 and he stole that too.
Question: Why if he is such a solid citizen, such a good person has his staff (except for one person that he pays out of his personal pocket not the company coffers) decided to leave him and have nothing to do with him?
Answer: Because they feel used and abused by Jeff. The rug was virtually pulled out from them and in one day when they came to work, they were told the store is closing. Also they were made to do his dirty work with the tenants. They were to get as much money as they could from tenants and were not let in about the store’s demise. Many of these fine people had no where to go, nothing to do. Jeff said that the lawyers told him that he HAD to pay his staff so he did – almost. To date, there are STILL staff that have not been payed. But it was never about only money that motivated the team of fabulous employees at RPS. It was always about respect, about loyalty, about hard work and honesty. THEY were the reason the place seemed happy. They were the ones who put their heart and soul into the place. Because Jeff violated every one of them, they have left him.
Question:Was this a coop?
Answer: NO-it was not the vendor’s responsibility to help Jeff pay the rent, pay his bills, finance his car and his life. The tenant’s contractual agreement was the tenant supplied the goods, kept the booth clean etc payed the rent and commission so HE could run the business.
Question: Where did Jeff get the money in January to spend thousands of dollars flying up to New York and San Franciso and paying enormous booth rentals of his own there to sell his goods? Next week it is off to
Thailand to buy all new goods so he can set up another scam using a new name.
Answer: from the money he STOLE from the tenants in Jan and half of December when he gave bad checks (dec) or no checks (Jan) at all.From the deposits he kept as well.
Question: Why does Jeff not own his bad deeds? Why does he whine about taking out fifty thousand dollars to keep the business open?
Answer: Because he is deluded, unable and unwilling to speak the truth. He wanted to keep the place open because it was his cash cow.It was
widely known how he took money out of the cash register often and unrecorded. Just what he stole for Dec. and Jan. well overreached his fifty thousand taken out for his loan one year ago.
Question: When did Jeff know the store was closing?
Answer: Early in Nov when his accountants told him things were bad.
But he went on telling his staff to keep renting to new vendors, taking more deposits, telling vendors everything was great and fine so they spent even more money in Jan. to buy new goods for their own booths. He had a plan and executed it with precision. It was a knife in everyone’s heart.


jon February 21, 2009 at 11:43 am

OBilluminator: those are some serious allegations. I have already admitted to not being a fan of the guy, but I would like more details about how you know this is all true before tar and feathering begins. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on any “side.” I am not affiliated with any vendor or merchant. I’m just a concerned resident who loves this community and plans on calling it home for life. But I would really like to know actual facts, rather than hearsay on an unregulated blog posting. I’m not saying you are lying. I’m only saying it’s difficult to make an informed opinion with the anonymity of a community blog. Everyones emotions are running high.

I hope that, without letting this issue fade away, we as a community can also begin looking forward. The OB Rag is providing a perfect canvas for thought, creative ideas and community building. Let’s all remain positive, but, at the same time not allow bad deeds to go unrecognized.


yippiereborn February 21, 2009 at 3:29 pm

I have a feeling that all of these allegations, true or false, will be aired out, confirmed, and noted during the inevitable lawsuits that many of the vendors will file.


Dog Beach Dude February 21, 2009 at 3:43 pm

I must retract something that I printed earlier about K-dog. I said that,
“A lot of those so called parasites are your friends and neighbors” when I should have excluded the word friends as k-dog must not have any.

I’d never encountered a fascist dog before but I’m guessing that k-dog wasn’t socialized much as a puppy, so now when anyone disagrees with him, they’re a “hater” of the worst kind and viciously attacked.

Not sure what you mean about Chinese Tee’s but if you have a beef with Wings over T-shirts then you might want to tell them and every other “non-artisan” to get out of “your” OB…oh wait, you already did that…how’s that working for ya?

You keep harping about the way the Farmers market used to be, people running other business’ out of OB and how you and the last true artisans are being forced out of here too. But I have to ask you something. Can you seriously hear anyone else’s opinion over all of the voices in your own head? I doubt it.

Btw, when talking about people it’s spelled “their” not “there” but then someone as self-absorbed as you wouldn’t really care, now would ya? Don’t let the door hit you where the fat bug bit you :D


Molly February 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Jon – the detail with which OBIlluminator described the contractual arrangements at RPS sounds to me he/she was a vendor. So far no vendors have appeared on the string openly as far as I know. But OBIlluminator sounds like someone who knows “the inside”. I mean what do you need to see, the actual contract?

I was hoping that this whole mess could be resolved without going to court, Yippierehash. But that means Jefe and the vendors (and maybe his former workers) would have to resolve everything thru some kind of mediation. Mediation, that might work. Any OB counselors, therapists or mediation lawyers want to step forward and offer to help resolve this thing?


jon February 21, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Molly- yes, i do.

I’m sorry, I know illuminator has a lot of details, but I can’t make a serious decision based on blog comments. And I have a feeling more than a few RPS vendors have been here. I respect and enjoy many things you and others have to say here, but seriously, it’s one anonymous persons perspective. I’m absolutely inclined to believe illuminator, but in this country you are ALWAYS innocent until PROVEN guilty. “Dubya” didn’t seem to acknowledge that basic of all citizens right. let’s not stoop to his level. Right? I repeat, we. are. all. in. this. together.


jon February 21, 2009 at 8:16 pm

whoops! I meant to say… “W” didn’t acknowledge that basic right of all US citizens.” make sense? I had a few beers. “W” would understand. ;)


dennis29 February 22, 2009 at 7:24 am

K-Dog and Blondstone = the same. If you don’t like the competition go somewhere else. OB will survive. You’re not the answer to all our woes. When you’re gone the sun is still going to shine and the surf is still going to rise. As far as RPS, business’s rise and fall, come and go, but one thing is for sure, OB will still be here. The economy will surely turn around again and new vendors will come to Newport and as long as we stick together we can always keep OB what its always been. A cool and quirky place, that has never been contolled by greedy, manipulative and anti-competitive store owners. Keep on Keepin on.


Laci Laplant February 22, 2009 at 2:53 pm

It’s sad that there are so few venues for legitimate artisans to market their wares. If they can’t afford their own storefront, their options are limited to crafts fairs, farmer’s markets, or placing their work on consignment in stores like Blondstone (where the Smiths take 50% of every sale and drop jewelers whose work outshines or outsell Heidi’s.) With store owners like the Smiths and K-dog, it amounts to paranoia and an unnecessary fear of competition. It’s rare to have an opportunity like the one RPS offered, and unfortunate it didn’t work out. Props should go to Gary Gilmore, who’s confident enough in his own work not to begrudge other artists less established than he, and rational enough to see other artists not as competition that must be eliminated, but as part of a potentially symbiotic creative community.


tinks0318 February 22, 2009 at 4:46 pm

WOW!!!! You can really tell the people who are personally involved in this situation. Have we heard from anyone who has never met Jeff? Not likely, he is an OB staple. How about a comment from someone who frankly, doesn’t care about him either way? Love him or hate him, he is here to stay. I personally do not believe that he would have lasted as long as he has in this community without having some merit.Opening a business is taking a risk. No one is stupid enough to expect a gaurantee. These vendors went in with eyes wide open and if not, SHAME ON THEM. Don’t blame the person with the vision and guts to make it happen. Everyone lost here. Unfortunatly, in this economy, this will not be the last blog about a failed business and we will once again begin talking about how unfair life is blah blah blah…. I hope these vendors who lost out will find a light at the end of the tunnel and maybe find another opportunity that will make all their dreams come true. They deserve it. As for Jeff, keep on trying to make dreams happen for those too afraid to go out on a limb themselves.


Dog Beach Dude February 22, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Before I address the main topic I want to give a shout out to our very own Willie’s Shoe-Shine & say, GET WELL WILLIE!!! We miss ya man!!!


I’ve talked to a few of Jeff’s former vendors and there are real mixed feelings about what went down. Some are really pissed and want to string him up by the, well..let’s just say that Jefe‘d be singing an octave or 2 higher. Then there are others who are more understanding. They realize that this economy is kicking our collective asses and that no-one is 100% safe. Some are talking about suing him, but in my opinion the only people that would profit from a law suit are the lawyers. My feeling is that Jeff enjoyed being a mover & a shaker on Newport and the last thing that he would have wanted was the shame of going under. I’m staying tuned…

On Blondstone & K-Dog:

You’re probably glad for the diversion of RPS going under, but you’ll be back to those same old underhanded tricks. When did locally owned become, LOCO-ly owned? Is there a clause in your rental agreements that give you a sense of self-entitlement? You really need to mind your OWN business’ (literally) or your lack of sales will force all of your inventory to become antiques. The good thing there is, that your goods will finally sell on Newport. The bad thing (for you anyway) is that it will be many years from now and you won’t be around anymore to enjoy any of the fruits of your labor. Wait a minute, I’m assuming that you’re able to enjoy something…sorry, my bad!

And finally on Laci nailing it:

“Props should go to Gary Gilmore, who’s confident enough in his own work not to begrudge other artists less established than he, and rational enough to see other artists not as competition that must be eliminated, but as part of a potentially symbiotic creative community.”

Dog Beach Dude standing and clapping :)


obsoul February 22, 2009 at 7:55 pm

“People will seldom remember what you did or what you said. But they will almost always remember how you made them feel.”


Gary Gilmore February 22, 2009 at 10:17 pm

To the crafts people who were involved with RPS: If you would like to be a part of the Artisan Area in the Wednesday OB Farmers Market please go to the MainStreet office at 1868 Bacon (it’s real close to Nati’s) or call (619)-224-4906. Ask for an Artisan Application Form and an Instruction Sheet. Claudia is at the front desk and she’s eager to help. You can also request the forms by going to: obbid@NetHere.com the forms will be emailed to you. Sooner or later we’ll have the forms available to be downloaded from the website. This whole Rock Paper Scissors thing could be a perfect opportunity to blossom the artisans in the area. I’m looking forward to it.


Jeff Fagan February 23, 2009 at 8:47 am

Obilluminator, You have absolutly no ideal what your talking about. Your head is in your A_s. Your numbers could’nt be more wrong. Get your math right.If you would like to know more come talk to me in person, I’m not hiding and i’m not going anywhere. My total monthly rents for December 2008 equaled less than $20,000. And in response to Jon and molly, Thank you. If you have any other suggestions please let me know. Everytime someone starts a fire i’m able to put it out fast, Maybe that tells you something.
obilluminator, Your comments are getting dangerously close to slander. Stating quote on quoto facts that are untrue is slander.


Jeff Fagan aka Dr. Jefe February 23, 2009 at 8:49 am

If anyone wants to know more facts, please come talk to me. I have nothing to hide.


Molly February 23, 2009 at 9:59 am

Jeff Fagan – dude, you cannot have it both ways. First OB Illuminator has a lot of facts that seem to have some basis in reality, yet you tell him/her that they “have absolutely no ideal (sic) “what they’re talking about. They are the other ones who have come on this string with specifics. You have not offered any except very general numbers. OBIllum has dollar amounts, feet amount, very specific facts, which you then call “slander” and in the next breathe tell everyone ‘hey, come talk to me, and if I disagree with ya, I’ll call it slander.’


Jeff Fagan aka Dr. Jefe February 23, 2009 at 11:05 am

Molly, The Obilluminator thinks just because she worked here that she thinks she understands things. Employees don’t really know what is really going on, all they see is what is comming in and not what is going out. I have tried to answer questions. I told everyone that if they wanted answers to come and speak with me. I am here to try and help people understand. This will be my last email to The OB rag. I’m starting to feel like i’m bickering with a immature girlfriend. (molly, that last comment was not directed to you.)


OBreal February 23, 2009 at 11:40 am

OK, lets sum up a few things that would normally be the business of only the busness itself, but let’s just get a few things straight
First in direct reply to OBilluminator accuzations….
…”Each vendor payed TOP dollar for their booths -$10 a square foot to be exact. (ie a 500 sq. ft. booth cost $500 each month. a 10×10 cost $1000, a 10×12 cost $1200.etc.) Multiply these rents by 140 and you know how very much Jeff was collecting. But this rent from 140 booths from various sized booths was just the beginning. Then the vendors payed 13% on EACH and EVERY object that was bought in the store in their particular booth”….
In all actuallity only about 10% of the 140 vendors were paying $10 per square foot, (yes that’s right only about 14 vendors) most of the vendors in the store were artists on a split commission, meaning if they did not sell anything no one profited in any way. The rents were theoreticaly raised in nov. to try to get everyone paying $10 a square foot (which was the only way to meet the incoming expenses). However, that request as you can imagine did not go over very well with the vendors who were struggling to make ther own ends meet and the store found itself having to make deals with the vendors in order for them not to leave…..i.e. actually lowering the flat rent rate and increasing commision rates, this was done with the hopes that december sales would be enough for everyone to be on track finacially. However the december sales were not enough for that vision to pan out.

There still seems to be confusion about what happened to the december sales. Let’s take some basic numbers just for easy math (not actaual numbers, because I don’t know them)…..

Let’s say initally the incoming expenses were $10,000 a month. The busness plan was then set-up to take in about $10,000 a month in rents and a small commision to be able to put back into the business. As time goes by the cost of living, as the cost of everything slowly starts to increase. The store then realizes that the money coming in is no longer enough to pay the overhead. So what does RPS do like any other business of it’s kind? Try to raise the vendor rents. What if the vendors are not willing to pay the extra and leave? What if they cannot pay the extra and RPS has to cut them a deal in order to not have an empty store? So, RPS tries to make everyone happy all the meanwhile having a more to pay and less coming in. Do you see where this is going? If it now cost the business $15,000 a month and they are still only taking in $10,000, then at the end of the month there is a negative of $5,000.

$10 a square foot to have you products selling in a high traffic area with no overhead or headaches (i.e. staff, insurance, utilities, marketing, or having the resposibilty of the collection of sales tax, and the list goes on) is a great deal. If you don’t think so try to start your own little shop and let me know.
There were alot of poeple hurt emotioinally and finacially in this situation and I feel for all of them. Even those who don’t seem to yet understand.

And as far as the employees not being paid that is a bunch bullshit. End of story….


OBTRUTH February 23, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Dr. Jefe is a thief. The money collected was never his to use, just to hold until it was time to pay the vendors. He was by contract allowed to keep 13% to cover his expenses of running the business. To there he tacked on all kinds of additional fees, credit card processing, advertising. Other co-op stores in SD do not do this. Employees have noted that Jeff would come in and take tons of cash and leave IOUs. That is stealing. Rent deposits should never be touched as they are deposits, an accounts payable to the vendors for when they decide to leave. What he is doing creates a serious problem for other co-op stores. His illegal practices make it difficult to trust. Vendors put thousands of dollars into the trust of his hands and he has completely abused it. items that were too big to be shoplifted would disappear. It was his practice to put anything that he wasn’t sure of into his acocunt. Other co-op stores simply won’t sell something that they can’t figure out who it belongs to. That tells yo soemthing about him right there. He is not to be trusted.


cerveza February 23, 2009 at 10:46 pm

I think I know too much about RPS’s failure at this point,but it is a shame we lost a cool store in the hood. An ever increasing glut of for lease signs on Newport cannot be good news for anyone. Vitriol promulgated publicly dosen’t really help a situation for that matter either. I hope a new enterprise can use the now empty building. Perhaps Hodad’s can move up the street and keep the sidewalk clear during happy hour


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