Newport and Cable: 5 Businesses in Less Than 20 Years

by on July 1, 2019 · 11 comments

in Ocean Beach

The corner of Newport Avenue and Cable Street is a buzzing place with lots of visibility and foot traffic. And you’d think that any business at that northeast corner at 4896 Newport would be a major success story.

But there’s no such stories. What with the closing of Helm’s and the opening of Two Roots, another brewpub, a new chapter emerges.

Yet, we have to recount that over the last 20 years or so, there’s been five businesses come and go in that space. Here’s a brief recounting of businesses that have opened – and closed – in that storefront:

The Pet Supply Store

We’re not certain of the store’s exact name (it could have simply been “Newport Pet Supply”) but the pet food and supply shop was there for 30 years. The original owners were the Varela’s – one local told us it was started in the late 1970s – and their son, Gary, managed it for years. Gary was a local – graduated from Point Loma High in the mid-sixties. (When we ran a similar post two years ago, we stated:)

It was a real pet store, with real animals, birds, reptiles, fish for sale. The smells that greeted you when you first walked in and the sounds of gurgling fish tanks and squawking birds told you this place was genuine. [Gary] didn’t have a modern cash register – but an old electric adding machine.

But then Gary was hit with a rent increase of 3000% (that’s not a typo) and he was forced to close a business that had been on Newport for 3 decades. There is some speculation that the building owners wanted to upgrade and mirror the efforts to upgrade the former bank at the corner of Newport and Bacon where Starbucks moved in. At any rate, Gary Varela was forced out and over the next two decades, and the space was empty for some time. And over that time there’s been four other businesses that have opened and closed – including Helm’s. Now, Gary is happily retired in Point Loma, we’re told.

(One reader told us that in 1971 that store was a dog grooming place.)

Two Roots has now taken over the former Helms. Photo by Steve O.

Cottage Antiques

After being empty for some time, an antique store moved into the space in an effort to become part of the Newport trend in those days – the antique era. Eventually, the store Cottage Antiques moved to another space on Newport.

Belle Maison (High-End Home Furnishings)

Next, a high-end home furnishings store opened and it seemed ready to cater to all those Point Lomans who needed their high-end homes furnished. But it didn’t make it either and closed.

Each time there was a business closure and / or failure at that address, the space would stand totally empty for months.

At some point, the Mexican restaurant next door, Ortega’s, expanded and took over a good amount of the space.

Humble Hippie Store

Then that pseudo-hippie Humble Hippie store opened up, the one that blared out rock and roll music and had lots of hippie-looking and OB-centric T-shirts. Yet, it too had to lock its door for good and leave.

Then again the space stood silent.


Helm’s Brewing Co. tasting room moved in during mid-May 2016.

That’s five businesses since Gary closed his pet supply shop – including his in less than 20 years ago, .

But then, who’s counting?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

ZZ July 1, 2019 at 2:40 pm


Kind of snarky there. I met the owner and he was a nice guy. I also wouldn’t say they “blared” music. You could hear it maybe three doors away on the street and that’s it.


Frank Gormlie July 1, 2019 at 7:46 pm

There was nothing hippie about that store. And hearing music “three doors away on the street” kinda proves me point.


Zz July 2, 2019 at 10:15 am

So, you’re attacking a guy who tried to open a non-alcohol business on Newport and probably lost a fair amount of money doing so. OK.


Frank Gormlie July 2, 2019 at 10:49 am

No, I was explaining why I called it a “pseudo-hippie” store. He lost money due probably to the high rent and plastic-ness of his storefront presentation.


Sam July 1, 2019 at 6:40 pm

I think that Two Roots is just the rebranded name of Helms. Two Roots is apparently trying to be a trailblazer in the cannabis beverage market as they apparently couldn’t make it as a traditional brewery.


Frank Gormlie July 1, 2019 at 7:15 pm

Sam – thanks for the update: “March 31, 2019 – Cannabiniers – a beverage, technology & brand management venture that in 2018 released the world’s first cannabis-infused, non-alcoholic beer – took over Helm’s Brewing Company well over a year ago … to transform it into Two Roots Brewing.

“Two Roots Brewing is actually part of Cannabiniers … Cannabiniers acquired Helms during Oct of 2017. Through that, we successfully developed and launched the worlds first cannabis infused non-alcoholic beer …. Now that we are in the CA market we will be converting all of our Helms assets to Two Roots including our tasting room in OB. …”

… Helm’s opened a satellite tasting room in Ocean Beach in 2016. In September 2017, Helm’s announced that it was entertaining purchase offers.

Since purchasing Helm’s in fall 2017, Cannabiniers has shut down the tasting room at the main brewery and continued to operate as Helm’s, while maintaining brewing operations for both Helm’s and Two Roots. Company representatives indicated rebranding the Ocean Beach tasting room was not a priority, but they would be moving forward with the name and concept change this April. ….

Two Roots Brewing will open in April at 4896 Newport Avenue in San Diego’s Ocean Beach. For more information, visit”


ZZ July 2, 2019 at 1:50 pm

Is it legal to sell something with THC in it outside of a licensed dispensary? Or is this just going to be weed-flavored beer (which has been around for a long time).


jason July 1, 2019 at 7:11 pm

Breweries are old news, really pretty lame. Not sustainable. A decent restaurant or service type store is what needs to be there. No need for more breweries or bars.


John July 1, 2019 at 7:56 pm

helms was full of flies and stale beer so please close down


Michael July 2, 2019 at 9:43 am

I had the opposite experience. The not so cheap beers guaranteed you’d always have a table. Great date spot and good place for people watching.


rick callejon July 2, 2019 at 3:35 pm

Helm’s beer is unpalatable.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: