Willie’s Shoe Shine Shack to Be Moved Wed Morning – GoFundMe Set Up

by on November 22, 2016 · 3 comments

in Culture, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, Organizing


Willie. (Pic from gofundme page)

It looks like Willie’s Shoe Shine Shack will be moving one way or the other Wednesday morning – the 23rd. Probably early.

The folks who have stepped up to help Willie, who is 78, deal with the move and changes are trying to get free help in the move – otherwise they’ll pay.

Here’s the Gofundme page set up for Willie – as of today, it’s raised $2,275.

There’s been some talk about boycotting the new landlord’s other OB businesses in response to his efforts to get Willie to remove the building. The order to remove by tomorrow – the day before Thanksgiving – is technically from San Diego Code Enforcement. It is assumed that the complaint about the building that was made to code enforcement originated with Ronnie Shamoun – the new landlord or his associates.

The building has stood there for 30 years without problems from the city or other businesses. It was even replaced 20 years ago when the first one was burnt down. So obviously, something changed. Perhaps it was Shamoun’s plans for a coffee cart at the location where Willie’s business sat for so long.

Nothing has been organized in terms of any economic retribution as far as we know.

Here’s a SD Reader article about it all.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave November 22, 2016 at 5:42 pm

Man, the bad news hits keep on coming from the Shamoun family – I was a loyal customer of Ronnie’s brother Bobby for a good 10 years, but then the thing about forcing the O’Bistro out kind of irked me. Then, he got into an argument with one of my workers who’s spent the last 3 months working on a remodel project next door to his Voltaire store – my employee, who’s Muslim, wanted to order an advertised sandwich special without bacon, one of the ingredients. After being told he’d have to pay extra to get a sandwich with fewer ingredients than advertised, my crew has been eating at Hungry Lu’s two or three times a week instead of the OB Deli (which I was at one point excited to introduce to my staff because of my long-running and formerly positive relationship with the owner). I stopped keeping track of our sandwich budget when it passed $500…


Terry Kaylor November 23, 2016 at 10:44 pm

I would like to say that Willie is a part of ocean Beach and must not fade away.
Please help with this legend if you have it in your heart
And that is all have to say about that


C November 24, 2016 at 12:18 am

Thoughts from a zoning expert in another jurisdiction:
Have the OB Town Council, Mainstreet Association, and Planning Board weighed in or contacted City officials? Community Groups such as these hold quite a bit of power when it comes to enforcement and upholding “community character”. Willie’s shoeshine is an OB staple.

Has the Ciry Code Enforcement done the appropriate research to determine Willie’a is not a legal non-conforming structure? Just because it doesn’t meet today’s zoning or building permit requirements, doesn’t mean it didn’t meet the requirements when it was constructed and placed ~30ish years ago.


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