Ocean Beach Holiday Shopping Guide: An adventure with Jon and Tanya

by on December 10, 2009 · 28 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach

OBCentric Global Trades-sm

Emily and Faith of Global Trades - featured artists at OBcentric for that day.

Originally posted December 10, 2009

By: Jon Carr and Tanya Joy Brueckner

Ocean Beach is a community well known, and highly regarded for supporting our local merchants. Our “mom & pop shops” have arguably been the backbone of this great village for decades. Obceans take great pride in our local storefronts, and go to great lengths to protect our shores from large corporate interests. It is in my opinion that the single most effective way to preserve our community, keep local businesses thriving and stave off corporate influence, is by shopping local whenever possible.

Studies have shown that local businesses return on average 80% of each dollar spent in their stores to their community through city taxes, employee wages and money spent on services from other local, independent businesses. As opposed to roughly 40% and even as little as 20% of that same dollar being returned to the community by big box retailers. So when you shop locally, you are really making a statement that you wish to contribute to the betterment of the community you live in. You’re also doing your part to benefit the global community. By walking down the street to your local store, or hopping on your beach cruiser as the case may be in Ocean Beach, you are deciding not to burn environmentally damaging fossil fuels driving to the mall.

Ocean Beach has a population of roughly 28,000. Let’s assume 10,000 of those people decide to drive the 12 mile round trip to get to Fashion Valley mall for their holiday shopping. And if approximately 1lb. of CO2 is burned for every mile driven in your average automobile, that adds up to an additional 6 tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere from Obceans alone!


The benefits of shopping locally: finding a custom OB necklace at OBcentric.

So now that we all agree shopping locally is the right thing to do for numerous reasons, the next question is where to shop. Perhaps you think OB is just a bunch of antique malls and bars. Well, at least I did. I realized when I began writing this article that I was seriously lacking in shopping skills and I would have to call in an expert. Who better than the one-woman recession-buster, my lovely fiance Tanya Joy! Tanya can smell a deal from miles away. I have literally seen her walk by a storefront and spot a watch on sale in a display case 50 feet away. Eagles envy that sort of vision. Together, I knew that we could show off the diversity of Ocean Beach merchants and show our readers that it is possible whether you’re a guy or girl to find everything you need for your holiday shopping right here in our hometown of Ocean Beach.

We started off with a store I had never set foot in, and always thought was just another antique shop. Vignette’s Home Couture located at 4828 Newport Ave. Tanya loves this store, and I was surprised to find the wide variety of gifts they had inside. Yes, some of the rooms housed antique items, but there were so many other rooms with an array of gift ideas. They carry both estate jewelry and more modern local artisan jewelry. They had loads of interesting home dÈcor products. Funky-fun chandeliers and candle-holders both vintage and modern looking. This place was a lot of fun, and was a pleasant surprise.

Apogee Body Piercing-sm

Apogee Body Piercing.

From there we walked down Newport and stopped in to Apogee Body Piercing. Apogee has been a fixture in Ocean Beach now for 15 years and it’s easy to see why. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and they have a huge selection of jewelry and experienced piercers. This holiday season they are offering free piercings on Sundays with the purchase of jewelry and the donation of two non-perishable food items. This only lasts thru December though. If someone you know already has piercings or would like some new holes in their body, this would be a great place to check out.

After talking with the good folks at Apogee, we made our way over to Santa Monica and stopped in one of our favorite new stores, OBcentric located at 4876 Santa Monica Ave. This is also the home of Saffran Packaging and Supply. So you can buy all your gifts here, and then have them shipped from the same location!

Creative director Danielle Eder explained it best when she said, “If the OB farmers market and Rock Paper Scissors had a love child, OBCentric would be it.” Mike and Lynette Saffran certainly have filled the void left by the closure of Rock Paper Scissors. You will find many of your favorite local artists inside the doors of OBCentric, and through the month of December, you will find them outside the doors as well! That’s because this month they will be spotlighting local artists on the sidewalk outside. Be sure not to miss this local gem as you complete your holiday shopping this season.

So far, we’ve touched on a lot of places to buy gifts that are artsy or jewelry oriented. But what about the boys? They need gifts too. That brought us back over to Newport Ave. to visit Galactic Comics located at 4981 Newport Ave. this is the place to shop for the boy gifts.

Galactic Comics Obama piggy-bank-sm

Obama piggy bank available at Galactic Comics.

They have a great selection of comics, graphic novels and DVD’s. They also have a ton of really interesting action figures, t-shirts, movie posters and some completely random items like the Obama action figure or our personal favorite, the Obama “change” piggy bank. They’ve been in business here since 1994, and also boast a friendly and knowledgeable staff.

Perhaps comics and graphic novels aren’t your guys’ thing. Then he probably likes video games, and once again, Ocean Beach has got you covered. I stopped into Luna Video Games at 4837 Voltaire St. and spoke with the owner, Treg. Luna has been doing business in OB for 6 _ years and carries virtually all of the vintage and new video game systems and the games that go with them. I even spotted an Atari system on the shelf! They also carry a wide variety of X-box and Wii games and consoles. The guys who work here really know their stuff and can help suggest the right gift for you. Which is just one more advantage to shopping local.

Beach Sweets chocolates-sm

Homemade chocolates at Beach Sweets.

We saved the sweetest for last. What better gift during the holidays than candy?! That’s right, our last stop was Beach Sweets. Owned and operated by Laura Smith and Eric Thompson for the past 2 _ years, Beach Sweets offers all sorts of fudge, specialty chocolates and candy bins. All of the chocolate is handmade in-house by Laura. Candies make the perfect stocking stuffer, and fudge makes the perfect treat to bring to your next holiday party. We particularly enjoyed the “Wipe-Out” a delicious blend of peanut butter, marshmallow and rice krispies. The perfect holiday treat.

I could go on and on about the variety of local places to shop. I’m sure I left out some of your favorites (fortunately the OBRag has a comment section where you can add ‘em in).

Beach Sweets-sm

Beach Sweets tray of holiday goodies.

The Black always has great gift ideas. Gary Gilmore is our resident Goldsmith and makes some of the most stunning fine jewelry around, perfect for that special someone on your list. The Closet has loads of fashion accessories and clothing for the girls in your family. Whatever your favorite place to shop, make sure you pay them a visit this holiday season and let them know you support local businesses and their effort to keep OB special.

Also feel free to leave comments if you are a business owner I did not get to visit. Let us know if you are having any holiday specials or fun events we should be aware of.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Editor December 10, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Plus, tell the business that you saw an article about them or their ad on the OB Rag. Or ask them whether they have an ad on our blog.


OBSteven December 10, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Great work Jon and Tanya!


Kristin C. December 10, 2009 at 10:44 pm

I’m also a big fan of OB Gifts & Shells on Newport – they’ve got tons of really neat Christmas decorations and lots of cool OB-themed items that I like to send to out-of-towners that don’t have the pleasure of living in our fab little town…. But I look forward to checking out what OBCentric has to offer too – sounds sweet, and if it’s similar to RPS – that rocks! I miss that store…


justmy2cents December 11, 2009 at 7:37 am

It is nice to keep the funds local for sure. It’s just to bad the closing Rock Paper Scissors had to leave a bitter taste in the mouth of many local OBecians !! Many locals lost hundreds of dollars and some lost thousands…..


jon December 11, 2009 at 1:57 pm

After stopping in OBcentric a couple of times this past week, I can definitely say that bitter taste from RPS has been rinsed clean. The staff and the owners are so friendly and inviting. I get the feeling they are really in it for the love of what they do, and the love of the community.


Shawn Conrad December 11, 2009 at 9:33 am

At least I know Jon will have gifts for us on Saturday. You kids are the best (next to Lane).


Frank Gormlie December 11, 2009 at 9:58 am

Shawn, your gift – true to form for your German-Viking background- will be a bunch of switches.


Shawn Conrad December 11, 2009 at 10:29 am

I will use one switch to switch you from hippie to working man.


jon December 11, 2009 at 11:07 am

Shawn, I got you a one year subscription to obrag.org. Comes with unlimited commenting privileges.


Shawn Conrad December 11, 2009 at 11:18 am

Hopefully they have a great return policy.


Molly December 11, 2009 at 9:55 am

Got some chuckles, Tanya and Jon. Nice work. Is “home-made” the same as “hand-made”?


jon December 11, 2009 at 10:25 am

I would say the two are synonymous in my vocabulary.


Patty Jones December 11, 2009 at 10:08 am

I had fun shopping with you Jon and Tayna, sounds like you two had a great time! And all those chocolates, my mouth is watering…


OB Joe December 11, 2009 at 10:16 am

Jon and Tanya. I noticed you did not just go to businesses with ads on the blog. That’s very principled of you. (Although, on 2nd thought, maybe you went to businesses who you hope will take out ads – just kidding kids.) And you spread your ‘cheer’ around, also very good, you didn’t “shop” just on Newport.


jon December 11, 2009 at 10:20 am

Thanks for noticing Joe. We tried to be as random as possible. This was just a fun project. I’m not in the business of selling ads, but I am always glad to raise the rags’ profile around town.


Dave Gilbert December 11, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Nice job you two, and you’re right…OBcentric RAWCKS!!!

Had to love your “one-woman recession-buster” line too!!! ;)


Pat December 11, 2009 at 2:51 pm

If you want to shop local for some unique OB stuff slide on down to 1931 Bacon st.
Most items are exclusive to our shop, produced right here in OB.
Because we produce most our items you save $$$
Out of our 7 employees 6 live in OB .
Just in Sluggies (Snuggie knock-offs) with our OB gull embroidered on them.
Wishing everyone Happy Holidays.
From the Gang!


jon December 11, 2009 at 3:07 pm

I can’t wait to check out a Sluggie! By the way Pat, I’m wearing the James Gang OB University hoodie today. I ALWAYS get compliments walking around town with it on.


Pat December 11, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Ah yea the University of Ocean Beach, more popular now than when we created it in 1980. Thanks for shopping local Jon.


Frank Gormlie December 11, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Pat, what’s the story behind the image, the logo of U of OB? Did James Gang draw it up or …?


Pat December 11, 2009 at 7:27 pm

The University of Ocean Beach circa 1980, it was created for our retail store when we were on Newport Ave . It was a collaboration between us the brothers and our art department ie Dale Sedenquist. Dale worked for us for many years I think 14. He did most the early OB fireworks festival and OB tree shirt designs, not to mention hundreds of designs for our customers . He later went to work for Sony creating play station games . He is an amazing talent. Dale still lives in OB and is like part of our family.


Frank Gormlie December 11, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Cool. I remember buying a bunch back in the 80s. I think I still have one, fairly tattered. Well, here’s to Dale Sedenquist, whose vision of OB has been shared by many over the decades.


Frank Gormlie December 11, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Speaking of old, tattered T-shirts that used to be close to your heart, does anyone have an idea of what to do with old, activist shirts, you know, the ones with the emblems and graphics of movement issues and groups? They’re too valuable to throw away, but meanwhile they’re too old to wear and gathering mildew and who knows what else. Shall we open a booth, store or exhibit of old movement T’s?


Shawn Conrad December 14, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Fold and place the t-shirts in a frame and hang them like a picture. It not only preserves them, but displays them as well.

You will be billed for this advice.


justmy2cents December 11, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Jon at 1:57…Not so sure you have spoken with vendors who are owed thousands of dollars. I realize sometines you just have to ” let it go” I get that. But the idea of a OB guy doing what he did is just not right. Especially with out having paid anyone back after a year.


jon December 12, 2009 at 7:41 am

I certainly didn’t mean to imply that vendors who lost money with RPS should forget about it and move on. I can’t imagine what those artists had to go through when that all went down. And I did follow very closely the numerous complaints and events that unfolded during the RPS closure. However, I do think it’s still important for us all to continue supporting local businesses and artists. We can’t let one bad apple shape our ideas about the OB business community. The good, hard-working and honest shop owners far outweigh the careless and corupt in this town. IMHO…


Pat December 12, 2009 at 9:38 am

Regarding old T-Shirt collections. I have known of people who turn there T-Shirt collections into quilts. I may have a few to contribute . A word of caution if you iron a design be careful many shirts are printed with plastisol inks which will melt if ironed.


lane tobias December 13, 2009 at 5:28 pm

great article. whats strange is that before i read it, i spent a day of shopping hitting almost the exact same stores! weird how that works…although i think you might have had more fun than me, as i was spending the whole time trying to stay within a pretty low budget – no recession buster here (love that statement by the way)….tis the season!


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