OB Hardware About to Celebrate 100 Years in Ocean Beach

by on October 24, 2018 · 6 comments

in Civil Rights

The OB Hardware store at 4871 Newport Avenue is about to celebrate being one-hundred years old, having first opened in 1919. We don’t know yet how they plan to celebrate and we don’t know the details of the original days on a dusty street called Newport. But we wish them the best – one hundred years for a business, especially these days, is a very, very long time.

The storefront, formally called OB Paint and Hardware, has been at its current location for about 5 or 6 years, having moved just a few doors down from the space they occupied literally for decades.

The place has been the go-to store for just about anything, paint supplies, keys made, anything you’d need to repair home appliances or touch up the abode – as customers receive personalized service and attention by Dottie and John Trudo, a couple of the employees who are the public face of the store. Dottie has been there for over 30 years now; Trudo for a mere 12.

The La Jolla Light did a delightful article on Dottie a few months ago, and we learned things never known commonly before.

Did you know Dottie walks to work and back each day, a round trip of about 5 miles, and that’s what she credits for being so healthy? Did you know she had been a Special Ed teacher or a girls PE teacher before moving to hardware? Did you know she had a master’s in general education and administration from SDSU?

From the article:

Originally from Syracuse, New York, Dottie said she studied at the New York State College for Teachers, and moved out west to San Diego in 1957. For 30 years, she was a special education, elder education and girls physical education teacher, earning a master’s degree in general education and administration from San Diego State University.

After her career in education, she retired. And grew bored quickly. “I don’t want to sit in a rocking chair,” Dottie said. Unhappy with her retirement, she took to the streets of Ocean Beach to find a job. “I couldn’t stay retired, I needed to be active and busy,” she explained. “So, I came down to the hardware store and asked if they were looking for anybody, then I went home, had lunch, came back and started working. And that was over 30 years ago.”

Dottie also experienced – at least initially – the sexism of male customers who wanted to speak to male employees, whom they wrongly thought would know more about hardware than she. She said:

“I don’t get that anymore. A lot of men come to me now, over a male, since I’ve been here longer!”

She told the Light reporter, Ancelia Martin, that her experience in hardware and such came out of her experience as a young girl, working alongside her father, a tool-maker and grinder. She said:

“He was brought up during the Great Depression, with obviously not a lot of money, during a time when people did their own repairs. They didn’t go buy something new.”

Go by there someday, and wish them a future 100th birthday.

— Ocean Beach Paint and Hardware, 4871 Newport Ave., is open 8:15 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Parking available at back of store. (619) 223-3083.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly October 24, 2018 at 12:45 pm

I heard a horrible rumor this week – OB Hardware has to close by year’s end.


Frank Gormlie October 24, 2018 at 12:47 pm

That rumor surfaces every now and then.


Molly October 24, 2018 at 7:23 pm

I hope you are correct. But regardless of their 100 years, if they have to close, that would be a damn shame.


Judy Collier October 24, 2018 at 1:26 pm

Thanks for this great story. The background on Dottie explains why and how she could climb up a tall ladder to get a heater air filter for me last week. She, and they, are always knowledgeable and helpful. Here’s to another 100 years!


retired botanist October 24, 2018 at 2:22 pm

Long may their doors remain open! :). Its such a nice feature in OB…countless times I was thankful to give them my business, rather than driving to some horrible, big box Home Depot cavern. Congrats and best wishes for continued success! :-)


Debbie October 25, 2018 at 6:08 am

OB Hardware is one of the BEST things about OB along with Dottie and Trudo. You always feel good when you go there. Great service and pleasant people not to mention they know their stuff and re-do screens!


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