OB Farmers Market Story Continued….Blondstone: “Just Don’t Hurt Us”

by on February 22, 2009 · 56 comments

in Economy, Ocean Beach

Editor: This is a repost that was originally published on February 5, 2009.

Last week we ran a report about flyers handed out on Newport Avenue that pointed the finger at the owners of Blondstone as being behind a letter writing campaign that could lead to closing down the OB Farmers’ Market, the Holiday Parade, and other events that include craft fairs. That report prompted numerous people to comment on this site (the blogospheric equivalent of letters to the editor). Shane Smith and Heidi Holman, the husband-wife team that owns the store, also contacted us, asking for an opportunity to express their point of view. Yesterday I sat down with Shane; this story is a result of that get-together.

Shane Smith is angry. It’s an anger that bubbles just below the surface, as opposed to the kind that makes the face red and the veins on the temples throb. Over the course of our conversation, his composed demeanor would start to slide…the anger would flash in his eyes for just a moment…and then he’d right himself. It’s the kind of anger that comes from frustration, and he certainly seems to have plenty of frustrations to talk about.

Nine years ago, Shane and Heidi opened Blondstone on Newport Avenue. The existence of the OB Farmers’ Market was one of the things that attracted him to the location. (They opened a second location in La Jolla two years later.) Heidi is, by all accounts, an extraordinarily talented jewelry designer. Beautifully designed pieces of silver jewelry, incorporating shells, beach glass, and semi-precious stones are displayed throughout the premises. At the back of the place she creates her works of art, twisting and setting, soldering and stamping the pieces that will eventually bear her mark.

The store is an island of serenity, located right smack in the middle of the block of OB’s main drag that, every Wednesday, erupts into the near-chaos that surrounds any bustling street market. And, yes, the pieces in the store sell for a great deal more than those displayed on the rag-tag collections that show up on the street each week.

The contention between Blondstone and the Farmers’ Market goes back four years, according to Shane, when the market was allowed to expand from about forty vendors to around one hundred. At that point, more non-farm vendors (crafts & prepared foods) were encouraged to come in, and the results-from Blondstone’s point of view-were very discouraging. Sales at the shop plummeted on market days. What galls him is that the decisions about the market are being made by the very organization (Main Street) that he feels should be advocating and defending his economic interests.

Asked about what specific actions he has taken with regard to the Farmers’ Market and other similar events, Shane pointed to two things: a request to the City Parks & Recreation Department to enforce existing regulations, and an inquiry he’d made last year about the efficacy of a craft fair that was held for three consecutive Saturdays prior to Christmas at Veteran Park (Newport & Abbott). He claims that he received a letter back from a member of the OB Town Council inviting him to take his business elsewhere. He also claims that attendees at a recent Council meeting were encouraging people to picket and boycott his business. Attempts to reason with Main Street and the Town Council on his part, he says, have been either ignored or distorted.

Shane told me that Blondstone is in no way opposed to any of the events and activities that occur in OB. “Just don’t hurt us”, he said. He went on to explain that all he’s seeking is for the Farmer’s Market to become more of a venue for locally produced food products. Many of the crafts booths, he says, are actually selling imported goods-as opposed to local arts & crafts-that could well be made in sweatshops overseas. And the conversation was peppered with suggestions that many of the activities that go on around the Farmers’ Market are in violation of assorted agency rules and regulations.

Historically there has been conflict within the business community and with the community at large about the direction and focus of activities along Newport Avenue. Some of us remember when “dirty hippies”, according to some former Town Council members, needed to be run out of Ocean Beach, lest they doom local businesses to failure. Now some of those hippies are movers and shakers in the community. This particular conflict might be a little different (or not); the frustration obvious in Shane Smith’s interview might also be indicative of a Main Street organization that’s insensitive or out of touch with what’s actually happening on “main street”.

In the next few days we’ll be visiting with the folks at OB Main Street to hear their side of the story. And we’ll let you know what we find out. Keep the comments coming!

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar YippieReborn February 5, 2009 at 12:31 pm

I understand the concern about vendors selling goods that are made overseas. This clearly violates the purpose and mission of a local farmers market. It is also clear that Mr. Smith is not making any friends within the organizations (OBMA and OB Town Council) he should be allied with.

I think the best way to rectify this situation is for Mr. Smith to first educate the CONSUMER on what he believes are the forbidden violations of the premise of a farmers market…by doing this, the educated consumer may be less apt to purchase a pair of earrings made in Thailand for 2 bucks. But there is also something to be said about the lack of oversight from the organizations that run the farmers market.

Nobody wants the market to go away. Regulate the goods and wears offered by vendors, and the businesses on Newport will not be immensely affected.

Advice to Mr. Smith though – the farmers market is an integral part of the cultural fabric of OB. By rallying against it you are fighting a losing battle.

Awesome work Doug. Cant wait to hear whats next.

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Jon Carr jon February 5, 2009 at 1:42 pm

It would be nice if the people who took the time and effort to print flyers and rally against Blondestone would do the same to distribute information about which vendors are selling cheap imported goods and breaking association rules. (although I think it’s rather obvious to any of us walking around the market recently). That said, Yippie is right, rallying against the farmers market as a whole is a losing battle.

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Avatar Seana McGinley February 5, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Back when we were fighting to protect local business against the incursion of Corporate Coffee, the owners of Blondestone dismissed our attempts to rally the support of local merchants and told me, blankly, “I think will help clean up the community.” It is hard for me to have a lot of sympathy for them now. I am, however, extremely disturbed by the closure of Rock Paper Scissors… anyone know what happened there? What will become of all these big empty spaces on Newport?

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 5, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Seana – excellent point! Is this true about Rock Paper Scissors? Ouch! It’s a great place. I remember a Christmas or 2 ago blowing my entire wad of cash there for presents. They’ll be missed. The Recession keeps hitting OB (and everywhere else).

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jettyboy Jettyboy February 5, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Yea here in OB we just can’t wait for more regulations, or have the police checking on any violations at the Farmer’s Market now can we. Someone should give the Blondstone folks a history lesson about OB, and what it has represented for years. Regulations and following every little rule are not what this community is about. It never has been and hopefully never will become one that does. And don’t worry, nobody’s going to “hurt you”, OB’s not about that part of the larger culture either.

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Avatar Dana February 5, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Jeez. That sucks. I lvoe Rock Paper Scissors, though they were a little too expensive for my middle-school budget.

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Citizen Cane Larry OB February 5, 2009 at 3:44 pm

I’ve always thought it would be better to have the farmers market at Robb Field. Plenty of parking and kids can play on the grass. Or take your dog down the jetty to Dog Beach. Craft fairs should be limited to vacant lots, church properties, or sites like the Masonic Auditorium.

Something I’d like to see is a monthy book fair where OB people buy, sell, and trade their used books….and maybe donate some money to the OB library.

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Avatar Linda Taggart February 5, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Love hearing both sides of a story. OB Rag staff, thanks for taking your time and energy to keep dialogs open and communication happening.

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Jon Carr jon February 5, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Ehhh….I’m not so sure about moving the FM to another location. Art & crafts fairs are not always limited to vacant lots. Most of the interesting and more vibrant markets are held in a space like ours on a main street with additional shops around. That’s what makes it the OB market. I often have family members or friends come from out of town who are awestruck that we have such a great FM. They always say, “ours is so tiny” or “it’s in the middle of nowhere!”

So, what’s this about Rock Paper Scissors??? I’m going down there right now. I will be so bummed if that’s true. I always do all my xmas shopping there. What about Roots cafe?

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Avatar Doug February 5, 2009 at 4:37 pm

I am wondering how it is still called a Farmer’s Market when only about 10% of the booths/stalls are occupied by farmers?

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Avatar Patty Jones February 5, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Excellent piece Doug, I’ve been anticipating it.
And excellent point Doug!

So many Dougs…….

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Avatar OB Joe February 5, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Larry OB – I agree with jon about the location, but I really, really like your idea about the book fair! Let’s hear more about that.

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Avatar dougbob February 5, 2009 at 5:25 pm

yeah, what’s up with all these dougs? FYI– rock, paper, scissors is reported to be bankrupt. sad but true.

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Avatar OB Amy February 5, 2009 at 6:00 pm

If it weren’t for the Farmer’s Market Shane would not have a store to operate. People come to OB from all around San Diego for the Farmer’s Market and the events that they put on. I think Shane and any other merchants who feel the way he does should be thanking their lucky stars that the Mainstreet Association is around, and that the Farmer’s Market is still standing through these tough times. Shane is not such an innocent victim in this whole ordeal. He does an excellent job of bad-mouthing, verbally abusing and creating chaos for those who strive to make and keep OB such a wonderful place. I hope that everyone can appreciate all that OB has turned out to be. It wasn’t to long ago that I was a little girl in OB walking down streets that were covered with trash, homeless tents and failing stores. It is now a thriving community with people who (for the most part) can see how far we have come.

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Jon Carr jon February 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm

I just saw for myself. What a shame. Roots is still there which is great! Because their food rocks and the girls who own it are really friendly. But we can’t let that location fall back to the big empty storefront is was. Nobody will walk by there and it will be turned over to the gutter-punk runaways asking me for change every time I walk by. I doubt Roots would fare much longer in that small space alone. Rock Paper Scissors was the best thing that could have happened to that spot. It’s such a massive space I can’t imagine what could take its place. Hopefully not another “Wings.” ugh…

The sign on the door said something about, “we hope to return with the support of the community…” What support do they need? What can we do to help?

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Avatar Fay February 5, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Hmmm let me write myself a note…Remember NOT to buy form Bloodstone.

Are they going to improve their sales with this complaining about the farmers market and ther OB events? Not if there are more people like myself who will now Never buy from them. Perhaps La Jolla is really mre their style. Or in some vacant lot, then they’d really be angry. I dont like their attitude. I am an artist too, a property owner and older than dirt – but that doesnt mean i have to become an tight-ass whiner like these store owners. I’d like to see a drum circle in OB that makes for real communnity, nt mre rules and mre enforcement

If the market were all farm produce i couldnt afford to buy anything, the prices are way over my head. I would love to buy local grown if the price per pound wasnt so high.

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Citizen Cane Larry OB February 5, 2009 at 7:14 pm

I don’t want to get too far off topic…but the book fair idea was intended to get books circulating better. I think books and money are both supposed to circulate, but often they end up getting hoarded. We also kill more trees when we don’t share books. Sell the book on Ebay, and it will take fossil fuel to move cross country. So sell your books locally, and sell them cheap…everybody wins.

Hmmm…maybe the Masonic Auditorium would be a good spot.

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Avatar Jon Quate February 5, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Just from what I’ve read here and the earlier post about the Farmers Market, it seems the bottom line is the owners of Blondstone are unhappy or opposed to things in OB that take sales away from them. They seem to have no clear argument except they lose money on days the Farmers Market, Craft Shows, and the Street Fair are open. Am I missing something? Perhaps they could offer sales on those days to attract more customers. The idea of moving the Market to Robb Field to appease them is nonsense imho. The book fair is a great idea. I suspect we will see more shops and businesses closing as the economy gets worse. I for one do not begrudge any of the vendors at the Farmers Market trying to get by these days by selling crafts & prepared foods. People need to understand how difficult it is for many to pay the rent & bills after twenty years of failed trickle down economic policies.

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Avatar OB BOB February 5, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Maybe a little off topic, but what about all the local artists in OB? I have always thought that a monthly art fair for local artists only would be a good draw. Something like the Spanish Village in Balboa Park. You could only exhibt if you live in 92107. Where? I don’t know. There are more and more empty store fronts lately. Or maybe just part of the Farmer’s Market, like mayb the last or first Wednesday of month, with an extra block for the artists. It would kinda fit.. local produce… local art? wadda ya think?

Bob

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Avatar Gary Gilmore February 5, 2009 at 11:28 pm

I’m jeweler also. I’ve been making a living as a craftsman in OB since I moved here in 1972. I now have a shop on Newport. I work towards making OB a neighborhood, known throughout San Diego, for its craftspeople (yes, jewelers too). This neighborhood is unique in that it fosters an attitude that is conducive to creativity. In the above article Doug wrote that Blondstones jewelry is beautifully designed and the shop is an island of serenity. I agree. Therefore, in my opinion, they have nothing to worry about. Quality will endure. The jewelers Shane and Heidi 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. A positive attitude would go a lot farther than fear and anger.

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Avatar dennis29 February 6, 2009 at 10:17 am

Without a doubt these store owners are concerned only with their own self interest and not the community as a whole. They appear to have taken every avenue possible to cause grief and havoc for the farmers market and association. Let’s call it like we see it. The fact that cheap chinese jewerly is being sold is obvious but it is such a weak and pitiful excuse to use to create the commotion Blondestones owners created. People all over San Diego come to O.B. for the Farmers Market, not to Blondstones. These owners are so miserable and selfish that they don’t even realize the risedual positive effects the Market brings to their own store. Thousands would not even know Blondestones existed without the farmers market. It’s fantastic exposure and well worth a day of slower sales. Until I see these owners apologize to everyone involved and the people of O.B., myself, friends and associatates will never, ever patronize their store. Now this is something the owners can really be mad about.

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Citizen Cane Larry OB February 6, 2009 at 11:20 am

Maybe someone should poll the farmers, and see how they feel about moving to Robb Field. More parking and closer to the freeway. They would be able to leave their vehicle right next to their table/tent. Maybe sell right out of the back of their truck.

On the subject of self interests….I think self interests are being served by keeping the farmers market on Newport Avenue, I just wonder if it’s what the farmers really want. Let’s hear from them.

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Avatar OB Rat February 6, 2009 at 12:40 pm

The Farmers Market has been in the same location for 17 years and has been an asset to both the patrons and the local merchants. I was in attendance at the OBTC meeting and heard multiple local merchants stand up and say how much they appreciated what the FM has done and continues to do for their business’s and OB in general. There were individuals in the very diverse crowd calling for boycotts and pickets of Blondstone. Would we or should we expect any different reaction when the locals get upset at what they see as a detriment to OB.

The Craft Fair at Veterans Plaza has been part of the OB Food and Toy drive for at least ten years as part of the overall effort put on by the OB Tree Committee to help provide food and toys for less fortunate families in the community. It was brought up at the OBTC meeting that this year over sixty families were helped.

OB has always been a unique blend of many different people and views, where tolerance has been the common bond. The calls for pickets and boycotts of Blondstone heard of late leads this 30 plus year resident to believe that the locals have run out of tolerance on this issue.

Wake up Shane

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Avatar John - Apogee Piercing February 7, 2009 at 10:35 am

As a young business owner in OB, I feel that the farmer’s market is an asset to the community. Wednesday is generally a slower day for us but the advertising due to the incredible amount of people that stroll by our shop is well worth it. We may not make a sale with them that day, but their upfront exposure to our business brings them back. When they are ready for a piercing or a quality jewelry purchase later in the year, they remember Apogee Piercing and they come back to OB to see us. While down here they will visit our shop, grab a bite to eat somewhere, and usually drop some money at several of the other merchants along Newport.
The farmer’s market helps us to build our long term customer base and that is what small businesses need right now. The more people coming to OB, the better for all of us. The OBMA is here to help us with bringing business to our community and I thank them for that. We are lucky to have a mainstreet association which actually works for the best interest of the merchants.

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Avatar Amber February 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm

I don’t agree “the more people coming to O.B., the better for all of us”, but then again my beginnings in this beautiful ocean community come from a slower time; days when the current traffic flow on Sunset Cliffs Blvd. was akin to the current traffic on Cable St. Ah, but to the matter at hand, mortar and brick vs. canopy stand. If it weren’t for the businesses that make up Newport, the attraction of the Farmer’s Market wouldn’t have been there to begin with. And as a previous poster pointed out, it’s come to the place where as little as 10% of the stalls are occupied by actual farmers, which of course was the original intent of the market; supplement your meal with fresh food, picked within the week. Who wants another swap meet, when we have Kobey’s down the street. Let’s have another look at the market. I want fresh flowers and fresh veggies, not plastic trinkets from god knows where, where labor laws don’t exist. I’ve never spent a dime at Blond Stone, but it’s nice to know that they are there in case I want a piece of sea glass fashioned into a necklace by a local artist.

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Avatar Wireless Mike February 7, 2009 at 6:59 pm

It sounds as if Shane Smith just doesn’t get OB culture. Expensive luxury jewelry is nice for people who can afford it, but OB is generally not a wealthy community. We need healthy food more than we need gold and diamonds.

The farmers market is a definite benefit to the community. Not only do local residents shop for food and visit with their neighbors, but the businesses on Newport get good exposure. It is a win-win situation all around.

Maybe Shane Smith chose the wrong neighborhood to locate his business. He might be better suited to a location in a more wealthy community like La Playa or Del Mar. After all, OB is not going to change its culture just to suit him.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 7, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Amber, sorry it took so long to ‘approve’ your comment, but there was no one at the controls for several hours here.

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Citizen Cane Larry OB February 8, 2009 at 8:05 pm

A friend of mine asked me today if I was “connected” to Blondstone, and if that was the reason for my recent comments about the Farmers Market. No. I bought some things there a few years back, but I probably wouldn’t recognize the folks if they sat at the table next to me in a restaurant. I’ve never had my car towed by the Farmers Market, and I’m not part of any cabal to move the Farmers Market.

My thoughts and ideas about moving the market to Robb Field are more like a “Field of Dreams.” Build a better forum for the growers, and the food will come. The market has room to grow at Robb Field. You could put it on the Western side of the park where it would have access to a couple of public restrooms. We could make it free for the vendors. We could make it a Farmers Market Day, and not just a narrow window of a few hours. I look forward to a day when we have so many Victory Gardeners in Ocean Beach, that we’ll need a forum as big as Robb Field.

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Citizen Cane Larry OB February 8, 2009 at 8:20 pm

There is another thing on my dream list….a Farmers Market Day scattered all around Ocean Beach on Wednesdays. People selling fruits and vegetables on their front porches. Lobsters from ice chests in their driveways. Why should the selling of food be limited to a small amount of property controlled…no monopolized by a handful of greedy landlords? A mother could stay at home with her kids, and wait for a customer to ring her doorbell to buy some oranges. Peer approval and certification could come from something like an Ocean Beach Victory Gardeners Association.

Ideally these future hippies will celebrate the Christmas season each year by rescuing a large tree from a construction site, and then planting it at Rogg Field. That is way to celebrate the birth of Christ.

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Avatar Jimmy Jimmerino February 9, 2009 at 10:41 am

What kind of crap are these idiots selling that they can’t take advantage of the extra thousand or so people that are drawn to the area by the Farmers’ Market? If, as you describe, the products available from the vendors at the Market are “rag-tag” (your neutrality is refreshing), how would Blondstone’s business be affected? Is the idea here that someone who buys a $10 bracelet or something would have, if the Farmers’ Market wasn’t there, walked into Blondstone and bought a great deal more expensive bracelet?

If their jewelry is so obviously much better than that available from the vendors at the Farmers’ Market who show up only one day a week, I can’t imagine what negative effect they would have on Blondstone’s business.

On the other hand, I’m not a jewelry expert so I can’t say for sure, I can see how there would be competition if what the vendors sell from their rag-tag collections are generally the same as what Blondstone sells for a great deal more.

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Avatar dougbob February 9, 2009 at 3:39 pm

rag?tag? ?
–adjective
1. ragged or shabby; disheveled.
2. made up of mixed, often diverse, elements: a ragtag crowd.
Origin:
1880–85; Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
Cite This Source

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Avatar Garry February 9, 2009 at 8:44 pm

I agree with Jimmy. How does ragtag jewelry for sale on the sidewalk for a couple hours a week hurt Blondstone’s business? Now if Blondstone jewelry was also ragtag, I can see the gripe, but it is not. How is the FM not good marketing for Blondstone? The passersby see their sign, peer in their door, perhaps make a mental note to drop by at a later time. Just how bad has it hurt their business? Have they quantified that? Do they know for sure it hasn’t helped? Maybe without the good marketing that the FM provides, their business would be down a couple more percentage points? Who knows.

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Jon Carr jon February 11, 2009 at 2:20 pm

FYI…City Beat did a full story on this issue in this weeks print edition. You can also view it online at sdcitybeat.com

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Avatar Mike February 11, 2009 at 3:40 pm

I did a bit of research on bullies- When someone is so insecure about themselves (as artists and business owners) they victimize people they perceive to be weaker and smaller. To feel better about themselves, they try to make others feel like less. They can be outright abusive and even violent. They often like to yell and confront others and act unprofessionally. Nothing is their fault, but always someone else’s fault.

“We’re not bad people, believe it or not. It’s not our fault…” hmm…. sound familiar?

We are not avoiding them and we are dealing with them toe-to-toe, face-to-face in an open forum.

At the last OB town council meeting it became obvious that excessive angry energy was directed toward denial of actions taken as well as a display of open humiliation and disrespect toward a wife and partner. The question then becomes: if you don’t respect each other, how are we to respect you? At the last Farmer’s Market, energy was spent running around taking vendors’ pictures and even confronting the clown, while customers were actually in their store. This energy should have been spent charming these customers out of their hard earned money.

The tough part is that we as a community must avoid stooping to the shouting angry level. We are calm and respect the rights of free speech without blind angry confrontation. Bullies look for the angry confrontation and come back for more. The Ocean Beach community does not show weakness and will never back down. It spite of people having been hurt, the market will survive where it is and future events will prosper. Use the energy created by anger in a positive way. Channel the anger to make your needs known. Turn your anger into assertion, not aggression. Embrace the market as an opportunity to be competitive as creative artists and to truly support your community. Good things have come out of constructive criticism and the intimidation isn’t necessary.

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Avatar OB Rat February 11, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Just watching channel 8 news and they did three segments in a 30 minute broadcast about coming down to OB FM. How much would it cost to buy that kind of exposure.

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Avatar Gary Gilmore February 11, 2009 at 8:53 pm

This is in response to Mikes posting from Feb 11. Mike, that was beautiful. Your words are so very eloquent and so well thought out. I admire and fully endorse your spirit and encourage this community to embrace your request to use this episode as a spring board for a future steeped in creativity, the sharing of artistic growth, and the implementation of a venue where artists of quality can gain exposure, display their craft and make a well deserved living. I invite you to come to my shop and introduce yourself. Thank you.

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Avatar Debbie February 12, 2009 at 3:51 am

Good dialogue going on here! I just purused the CityBeat article. Just a few comments…I like Blondstone jewelry and artistry. I did have a recent experience though that left me feeling not to warm and fuzzy. My dad wanted to get my mom jewelry for a gift so he asked me to help him out. I went to Blondstone and found a necklace and earrings. I asked if there was a discount to OB residents the answer was NO, I asked if there was a discount for buying a “set” the answer was NO. I bought them anyhow but left with a feeling of geeze they must be doing really good that they can just say NO like that and I guess it doesn’t matter that that I live and buy in OB. I want OB merchants to care about OB and the people in OB, be welcoming, friendly and thankful. Keep your places of business clean, sweep your sidewalk, plant a tree or flowers and water them. As for the market…. If it’s called a farmers market, then I’d like to see the farmers there and I love when there are street musicans and artists doing their thing. Bigger is not always better. Peace Out.

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Avatar mr fresh February 12, 2009 at 11:53 am

i saw the blondstone guy ruuning around the farmers market last week with a his digital camera, fire in his eyes, lookin’ for a fight. dude, get off it! your actions speak volumes about what’s really going on.

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Abby Abby February 12, 2009 at 12:10 pm

This is saddening to say the least. Both versions of the story have a different angle, one more favorable towards Blondestone.

Perhaps they should be the ones thinking of a move. Ob is clearly not the upscale market they are looking for.

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Avatar Catherine February 12, 2009 at 1:31 pm

I love the Farmer’s Market and Blondstone and would not like to see either go away. If the Town Council is really ignoring Blondstone’s concerns and urging a boycott then that’s a problem in my opinion. It’s a great little shop and the jewelry is beautiful. I don’t see how cheap imports are much of a threat as Blondstone is higher end compared to other jewelry sold in OB. But it’s not so high end as to be unreachable. Blondstone does a great job with its packaging as well.

The Farmer’s Market needs to stay on Newport where it belongs,but I would like to see more produce and less crafts. Love the crafts, but I think there’s enough already. Maybe there should be a couple of booths just for locals to sell their own produce? I also love the idea of a book fair.

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Avatar D.A. Kolodenko February 12, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Thanks for the forum, Frank.

Shane says that Blondstone is determined to never leave OB, but if he alienates enough locals, loss of business will force him out.

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Avatar tim james February 12, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Anyone know what seashell those Blondstone ‘Wave’ necklaces are made from??????

ALSO – Blondstone needs to “shut-up and COMPETE”! This is CAPITALIST AMERICA the market rules and if you cannot compete you will die.

Bottom-line: smarten up and spend your energies on making a better, less expensive product than your competitors and you will be successful.

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Avatar Pam February 12, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Interesting reading. I totally agree with Mike’s comments also. I volunteer extensively in our community and work with OBMA and the Town Council. These organizations work tirelessly for our community and its well being. Many are volunteers like myself.I know that proper permits are always obtained from the city for any event big or small that occur in OB. I have been privy to what has been transpiring with Blondestone over these past months and it saddens me greatly. I have lived in OB for 28 years and seen many stores come and go. I have never seen or heard anything like what the Blondestone owners have been doing, EVER! They want to come across as the victims when they have created their own problems! Their continual harrassment,(repeated complaints to the city, demanding that the police check for permits, and name calling, the Chair and Head Volunteer of most of all of our community events is a wonderful person not a fuc*ing bit** as Heidi chose to yell at a craft fair witnessed by many,including the Pres. of OBTC)has been the real detriment to their business. They could promote business on Weds.instead of closing the door and harrassing the farmers market looking for violations. They could have a booth at the craft fair. They could donate to the Christmas Auction and/or Food and Toy Drive. They could volunteer their time, all of which would bring them honorable local exposure. We are a tight knit community and we rally around when our own are being threatened and harrassed. There is nothing at the farmers market, craft fairs or anything else that is a threat to their business.(Except you Gary, much classier!) Shane and Heidi need to redirect their hostilities into positive energy and support for the community that their business is in. That will bring them business. OB is the Happy Place, someone forgot to tell them that when they moved in!
Thank you for the opportunity to express my opinion.

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Avatar anothermike February 12, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Well, this is all really interesting, but I think a lot of people are misssing the point. It is pretty clear to most people that Blondstone should focus on running their business. It is even more clear that they could care less about OB. They are, as the other Mike pointed out, simply bored by their business and have nothing better to do than bully any one they can by writing e-mails and letters to every official or quasi official they can think of with no clearly stated goal in mind EXCEPT to be a tiresome, whining voice of self righteousness and anger…the funny thing is, while they think they are being vicitmized by everyone from the OBMA and the Town Council down to the guys whittling popsicle sticks at a craft fair, they are in fact vicitmizing themselves. “Please don’t hurt us…” oh my. pathetic. When you turn in your neighbors (businesses) to any city official within earshot citing “code violations,” it makes you wonder what kind of people they really are. Please don’t hurt yourselves is more to the point. It will be interesting to see what else they want to shut down… If they can’t close the FM, there must be something else that is killing off their business…

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Avatar dennis29 February 14, 2009 at 5:09 am

I agree with the these last recent post. Being nice to these mean spirited, nasty store owners isn’t going to change one thing. They are on a mission to change what they percieve is an injustice being done to them. They are consumed with self-rightousness and greed and the only thing they will understand is a boycott of thier business until they aplogize to the community and make a good faith effort to get on board with the rest of us to continue to make OB what it has always been. Having a store owner sneaking around and taking photos and whining to anybody and everybody who will listen is not my ideal of a good neighbor. If these store owners are that miserable then “Please”, leave and go somewhere else. We will be just fine without you.

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Avatar Geniezuc February 14, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Happy Valentines Day! Now this is really a love fest! Viva la community.
What a brainchild this forum is, thank you, thank you, thank you, F&P.
What great ideas come forth. I’m old enough to remember when info in the printed form was slow and tedious, at times, in order to promote change, ex: O.B. Rag, leaflets, phone trees, (remember that?), demonstrations, pickets, petitions, and word of mouth etc. And the give and take came in meetings, meetings, and more meetings. Now look, in a matter of days, so many views and ideas, and great dialogue.
It’s saddening that these people don’t grasp the idea of the “greater good”, and with that, we all win. That’s how it happened years ago, when the plan was for O.B. to become another Miami,, and “Stop the Highrises” came about, and when Whinchell’s Donut’s wanted to move their corporate franchise to O.B. and nobody thought a small community could prevail over a conglomerate such as that. But! we did, with banners on the corner of Sunset Cliffs & W Pt Loma that read, “Honk to Stop Winchell’s”, along with the thousands of petitions. We didn’t win everything, we lost the Strand, but there have been so many victories, when People Unite.
I, too, was touched by Mike’s words. And Gary Gilmore, thanks, and while I’m at it, thank you Falling Sky Pottery, and all the other O.B. Merchants that are community spirited, like James Gang too.
So many great ideas. I loved the “victory gardeners” concept, and dreams happen when they are put forth, right? The books idea too, great.
I, like Amber, yearn for the “slower” days, but that ain’t gonna happen any time soon. So making the most of what we have, and keeping it in prospective seems to be the right action.
Keep on O.B.! You are awesome!

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Avatar David Foster February 14, 2009 at 3:13 pm

I would like to see more farmers and produce. The OB Farmers Market seems more like a street fair… entertaining for sure, but not a lot of focus. Even though I live locally, I actually find it easier to walk around and find produce at the Hillcrest Farmers Market than at the OB FM.

Sales of crafts and non-food merchandise should be limited to locally produced items.

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Dave Gilbert Dog Beach Dude February 14, 2009 at 3:54 pm

I enjoyed reading Eric Wolff’s article in City Beat about Shane Smith’s fight with Ocean Beach. I hope that folks understand though that he’s not the victim here, as he brought this fight on himself. As a San Diego native and long-time resident here in OB I know that running a business on Newport is a gamble at best and more than likely, a chance to go out of business and lose your shirt quickly. I’ve seen hundreds of them come and go and in this economy, it has to be far worse, just look at Rock, Paper, Scissors for example. Hey, we can’t all run a Hodads, Black, Pac Shores or even a Nico’s

So, that’s why it struck me as odd that Mr. Smith would go on the attack on the very people that are part of his extended family…odd that is until I happened to overhear him talking to one of San Diego’s finest a few weeks back in front of his store. He told the cop, that “he employed people from OB” (yes, 1) That, “he’s being punished for following the rules” (there’s that victim mentality again) but that also (and this kill’s me) “any publicity is good publicity”…errr, OK. Guess he thinks that Blondstone is a band on the verge of making the big-time and he just need some press…ANY press.

What Smith doesn’t grasp is that we are a tight knit community here and he’s has alienated just about everyone here in town. He’s kind of like that screaming kid throwing a temper tantrum until he gets the attention that he believes the world owes him, and then as soon as everyone is looking at and giving him attention, he turn’s, smiles and gives a sly wink…mission accomplished, at least in his reality.

The person I feel the sorriest for though is Heidi. Mr. Smith talked about how bad his wife felt at that council meeting but left out that fact that he himself “shushed” her there, much like a strict taskmaster talking down to a little kid. I’d feel bad too Heidi, but that’s nothing a good divorce lawyer couldn’t fix. She’s a very talented artist who makes beautiful jewelry, but horrible choices in business partners.

The article also said that “he helps her run her business” but once again there was an omission. He helped “ruin” her business. I don’t see any way to repair the damage that’s been done here, unless Mr. Smith either learns to play nice with others, or simply takes his ball and goes home.

Dog Beach Dude

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Avatar laci laplant February 17, 2009 at 4:25 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 apparently 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 its 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 apparently their ability to bully the OB Merchant’s Association into enforcing the elimination of any competition.

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Avatar Laci Laplant February 18, 2009 at 11:07 pm

I wanted to add a reply to Dog Beach Dude’s comment: make no mistake, Heidi is running the show; she lets Shane do her dirty work while she plays the meek little jeweler. A comment was left saying the Smiths supported the Starbucks franchise because it would “clean up the neighborhood;” I can attest to that, and to the fact that the Smiths do not and never have cared about the OB community. It seems as though the people of Ocean Beach are finally seeing through their facade, and getting tired of paying $50 for a factory-cut, imported “wave” seashell strung on a piece of leather.

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