OB Hardware to Close by February 2019

by on October 25, 2018 · 23 comments

in Ocean Beach

The OB Rag has confirmed the OB Hardware store on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach will be closed by February 2019.

Carl Weidetz, the owner, saying he was very proud of “the beach people and our loyal customers”, told this reporter by phone that he is indeed shuttering the doors of his famed storefront. “Fifty years in the business,” he said, “is enough.” He started working in the store in 1969.

The store, formally known as Ocean Beach Paint and Hardware, is one of OBceans’ favorite local “mom-and-pop” businesses. It is often cited as the prime example of a locally-owned storefront, in contrast to corporate franchises that love the community.

Carl acknowledged the 100th centennial of the store – as it first opened in OB in 1919 – but he wasn’t certain what kind of celebration they’d have.

He bought the business in 1981-82 from Harold Sulek. It was Sulek’s father who had opened the original OB Paint, Hardware and Feed store on Bacon Street nearly a century ago.

Carl’s father was also in the hardware business and he owned Schechler’s Hardware – where the Black is today. And back in the sixties, Carl worked for his dad.

Today, on the phone, Carl had nothing but praise for his loyal OB customers. “I’m very happy,” he said, “with beach people and our customers. I’m very proud of OBceans.”

Weidetz did acknowledge that rents at the beach are tough. His rent has gone up about 4% each year for the last decade. But he assured me that Eli Ben-Moshe, his landlord, has not pressured him to move out. In fact, Carl said, if it hadn’t been for Eli, he would have had to close the hardware store five years ago.

Is he open to sell the business? I asked him. Carl said he has spoken to a few potential buyers, but once they realize how stiff beach rents are, they don’t call him back. Is he still open to selling? Sure, he said, but the window to sell is very short. He plans to be completely out by February.

Carl will have a couple of sales, he said, before he closes up shop. And whatever he doesn’t sell, he’ll donate to groups, such as Habitat for Humanity.

I told him that many people in OB will be very sad. And again he lavished praise on his loyal customers, saying he has kept the store open these last few years just for them. But after half a century, it’s time for him to call it quits.

 

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

OB Joe OB Joe October 25, 2018 at 1:03 pm

Wow, I feel like an era is passing …. very sad.

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Hippietom October 25, 2018 at 1:20 pm

Come home Wally gator come home!!!

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Denine October 25, 2018 at 2:23 pm

This just breaks my heart. I’m guessing Target moving in across the street played a role in this decision. We need to do all that we can do preserve the community feel of North OB.

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kh October 25, 2018 at 5:12 pm

I asked them that several times and they always played it off. But I agree, probably struggling to make rent and payroll as is. Even if Target takes 10% away that’s too much to bear.

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OB Sean October 25, 2018 at 2:30 pm

A huge loss to the community. #ThanksTarget. Now we get more pizza or another microbrewery ?

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retired botanist October 25, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Bummer. :(
Mr Weidetz deserves his retirement, and kudos for keepin’ on all these years–Target and high rents notwithstanding, it sounds like the proprietor is ready to rest, regardless of who is moving in across the street…
Having said that, and not a reflection on Mr. Weidetz in any way, the replacement of a ‘family-owned’ business with big-box business is what is killing any sense of community, nation-wide, not just in OB. Of course, the Target store will flog much of what might be sold in a hardware store, so who would want to compete in a high-rent area with a store that supposedly sells virtually everything?! Whether you want to sell flowers, books, or duct tape, who’d compete with a Target next door? So… the next tenant will be? Let me guess, a restaurant? A microbrewery? A hookah lounge?
Targets/Starbucks–monochromatic, crappy, corporate chains of one sort or another….and unchecked STVRs…is this the wave of the OB future? Heartbreaking. The global might of current, corporate business models is wrecking our sociology!

But Happy Trails to OB Hardware and many thanks!- you done good :-)

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GJ October 26, 2018 at 8:34 pm

Best wishes to Mr. Weidetz for a happy retirement. OB Hardware will best greatly missed. The staff was always helpful figuring out solutions to my DYI projects.

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Judith October 25, 2018 at 3:56 pm

Thanks Frank for being on the pulse of OB and keeping us all updated. Glad they weren’t forced out, it was my first stop before going to Home Depot.

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Christo K October 25, 2018 at 4:39 pm

My favorite place on Newport.

I was just in there getting some reciprocating saw blades. Parking in the back and sliding in always makes me feel small town.

Ughhhh……….

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kh October 25, 2018 at 5:05 pm

This is absolutely devastating to me. OB Hardware has always been my favorite stop on Newport.

It feels like the final nail in the coffin for what used to be our small coastal village. Bring on the bars and tourist attractions. :'(

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JA October 25, 2018 at 7:37 pm

How would Target be to blame, it’s not even open yet? It sounds like many of those blaming Target haven’t been in one i a while. The full size one’s barely even sell the items as OBH, so it’s doubtful the express one will be a real threat.
Regardless, this is heartbreaking and I hope someone swoops up ObH and keeps it open :(

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ZZ October 26, 2018 at 11:33 am

Yes, the full size Target has one small very expensive aisle of hardware.

SuperMax has a pretty good hardware section.

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Marc October 26, 2018 at 7:25 am

It is convenient for small items now you have to deal with Home Depot. You will be missed.

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Leefa Roe October 26, 2018 at 7:44 am

so bummed – I love going in there. they’re always SO helpful, not like big box stores. always willing to help us with any project.

enjoy retirement!

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Debbie October 26, 2018 at 10:42 am

Thank you for sticking around so long! All the best to you and of course you will be missed!

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Laura D in OB October 26, 2018 at 12:54 pm

Thanks Frank, for letting us know about the end of an era. Wish I could buy the store and work there. I love hardware stores and this one is special. Hope your article inspires someone to think about owning a treasure.

As an OB Library volunteer, I think about the OB people in the first years of the library, when the community donated bookshelves, tables and chairs, and most likely, painted the interior — probably visited the newly opened OB Paint and Hardware for supplies. And as the new library was being built at its current location in 1927-28, how many times the construction workers and supervisors made a quick trip to OB Paint and Hardware to get screws, nails, lumber, or some little quirky gadget you could only find at a hardware store.
Thanks again, Frank!

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Vern October 26, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Huge bummer.

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Chris October 26, 2018 at 5:29 pm

As sad as this is, it sounds like Carl Weidetz is just ready to move on regardless of anything else. 50 years is a long time to run a business no matter how well it’s doing. I really doubt a Target has anything to do with his decision. A full size Target, let alone a mini does not carry the full stock of items that a regular hardware store would carry. If a Home Depot ore even an Ace were to go in OB that would be a different story. Mini Target, not a threat. Anyway I wish Carl well and maybe he’ll get a buyer.

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Ron October 26, 2018 at 7:28 pm

SO SAD!

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Eric October 27, 2018 at 8:01 am

End of an era. No idea how fantastic little shops like this can survive in the age of Amazon, Home Depot and Lowes. If I have any solace it’s knowing that there are many parts, knick knacks, nergasoids, doomaflachies and thingamajigs that have come from here that are now permanent parts of my home. Thank you for keeping it going as long as you did.

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Editor editordude October 30, 2018 at 1:38 pm

The local mainstream media (KUSI, Channel 10) have picked this story up, but not one – not one – has referenced the OB Rag or has given us any attribution for breaking this OB news.

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Potsucks October 31, 2018 at 10:03 pm

Haha

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craig klein November 5, 2018 at 12:51 pm

Don’t give up hope. There may be a way to save the hardware store. As a start, I would suggest anyone in OB who who would like the hardware store to stay, simply post a comment on this thread that says something like: “I would be extremely pleased and grateful if OB Hardware was able to stay in business. If OB Hardware could stay in business, I would commit to shop there for my hardware needs”.

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