Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association Celebrates 40 Years

by on October 19, 2018 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

The OB Rag joins the rest of the community in congratulating the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association in celebrating its 40th year.

And the group’s history is neatly compiled in a easy-to-read, 12 page pull-out section of the recent Peninsula Beacon. OBMA members Denny Knox, Mike Akey and Mike James are quoted extensively in the piece. We learned some cool stuff.

The group was originally founded in 1978 as the OB Merchant’s Association, but 20 years later in 1998, it received a national designation as the OB Mainstreet Association, and became a private, non-profit business organization. The quoted founders talk about the hard first days, trying to solicit OB business owners to join for $25. It was slow going at first. After their first year, the OBMA had 55 dues-paying members.

With time, the OBMA managed to help revitalize the community; they brought back the annual July 4 fireworks; Akey helped kick-start the annual Chili Cook-Off; they worked with other local groups to host the OB Street Fair in late June – which has 70,000 visitors these days; they help organize the OB Restaurant Walk, various craft fairs, and they’re especially proud to have organized the weekly Farmers Market – which just celebrated its own 25th anniversary this year. They work with the OB Town Council and help them with the Holiday Parade and various fund-raising events. They also work with the OB Woman’s Club.

Denny Knox receiving a commendation celebrating the 25th anniversary of the weekly OB Farmers Market.

Today, the invigorated association has more than 525 members – and has kept that number fairly consistent.

Denny Knox has brought the group to this height; she is the executive director of OBMA and has been so for many a glorious and challenging moons. While Barb Iacometti is the president and a board member since 2011, it’s been Knox who has been the public face of the group and has led it into becoming a powerhouse of local … (can’t say “politics”) … influence. Denny has that gravitas that causes people to listen to what she says. She’s definitely a leader of the village and the Newport area merchants are represented well.

I remember Denny when she worked in her family’s gallery, frame shop and art supply store on Newport Avenue. It was the Cabrillo Art Center owned by her husband’s family. I used to go there to get my writing and drawing supplies and to have posters framed (all well done, too, they’re still in the same frames – and that was back in the 1970s).

That’s why she is so effective. She’s not some career-building bureaucrat, but rose up through OB’s merchant ranks and experienced the rough-and-tumble of local political wrangling, going after funding and dealing with local issues – for years. She’s a wealth of information about OB – although she relies on her right-hand woman, Claudia Jack, who helps run the weekly market on Newport.

Thank you! – and especially thanks to all you old guys and girls, who started the whole dang thing.





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