Ocean Beach Starbucks to Close Mid-December

by on November 21, 2022 · 29 comments

in History, Ocean Beach

The online SanDiegoVille reported on Sunday that the Ocean Beach Starbucks will close by mid-December this year.

It stated:

Starbucks sole Ocean Beach branch will shutter after service on December 12, 2022. Employees will be offered positions at other area stores. Earlier this summer, Starbucks announced the closure of many stores throughout the country due to ongoing safety issues.

“After careful consideration, we are closing some stores in locations that have experienced a high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe to continue to operate, to open new locations with safer conditions,” a Starbucks spokesperson previously told Insider magazine for an article published this past August.

Incidents mentioned that could precipitate store closures are reported to involve customers and other members of the public using drugs in the stores, and the closures are for the safety of customers and employees. There is no word on whether safety issues are the reason for the closure in Ocean Beach, but there has been reports of homeless encampments and public drug use in the area around the location.

Just over 21 years ago, Starbucks opened in OB on the very same day as the 9/11 attacks, after months of protests by anti-corporate residents and supporters. On one of the first protests, on March 25, 2001, hundreds gathered at the foot of Newport Avenue and marched over to the future location at the corner of Newport Avenue and Bacon Street.

A group called “Save Ocean Beach,” an outgrowth of the OB Grassroots Organization, led the protests. SanDiegoVille states: “Starbucks responded to the protest by almost immediately signing a lease for a quaint space ….” at 4994 Newport, the site of two former banks (Bank of America and Peninsula Bank), Java Joe’s and a community-oriented space called the Left Bank.

SanDiegoVille: “When it opened, the OB Starbucks was one of sixty-seven locations of the coffee cafe chain in San Diego County. It has since been known as one of the least profitable in the city.”

For more background, see this retrospective by Marc Snelling in 2014:  “The Story of How Ocean Beach Took on Starbucks.” Here is Part 2.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam November 21, 2022 at 8:55 am

Regardless of where one might stand on the corporate takeover of our little beach town, it is an absolute tragedy, on many levels, that a store is being shut down because of the rampant violence and drug use in this area. I feel so bad for the men and women who work at this Starbucks who have had to endure a never ending barrage of BS from the mentally ill “clientele” who were constantly harassing the staff and real patrons.


Frank Gormlie November 21, 2022 at 10:48 am

Nothing specific was stated. Maybe it was because workers at 100 Starbucks protested for unions over just recently.


Jeoffry Gordon, MD, MPH November 22, 2022 at 6:36 am

Well! Well! Hate to say it, but market forces turned out to be more potent than citizen power! Ol’ Karl Mark must be sitting up in his grave. Save OB!


Geoff Page November 22, 2022 at 12:36 pm

It is interesting that the other coffee places in OB did not seem to suffer the same problems as Starbucks did. No, this was an economic decision, they just could not compete in OB. Happy to see them go, maybe the new coffee shops that have opened recently will benefit from this.


Progressive Guru November 22, 2022 at 12:46 pm

Well, well, well. Hopefully a cool, grassroots coffee shop will take it’s place, instead of a Jamba Juice or something like that. Hey, I used to go there from time-to-time, because it’s just about the only place to get coffee on Newport in the early evening, and my coffee fix takes precedent over all else.


Gregg g Sullivan November 22, 2022 at 2:11 pm

Go to OB Coffee & Plants on Voltaire just west of Jack-n-the-box


Anville November 22, 2022 at 10:19 pm

Man, I remember that 9/11 day. I had just arrived back in OB after having been away for 6 months, and finished a cross country drive that afternoon after starting early in the morning in eastern AZ, listening to the horrible news on the radio all day.

While I sympathized with the protesters there, the cause seemed a bit hollow that day.

Well, good riddance to Starbucks. I don’t think I ever once set foot in there. I just wish ol’ Jungle Java were back…


unwashedwalmartThonG November 22, 2022 at 10:29 pm

Hey, wait, they can’t close! I only got to visit the store once in 21 years. I recall that day well. It was a balmy autumn afternoon, and I was cruising Newport in my ancient truck. And then my bladder made that unique signal to my brain; it was an emergency. It was the first day of a UTI, and there was parking right near the store, & so I dashed in, used the restroom, bought nothing. Eighteen years later I recount that day with no fondness for Starbucks. Presently, I’m trying to boycott them because of that union-busting attitude of theirs. Back in the late 90’s I actually worked for them. Their goal then was informally, “2000 by 2000.” They wanted two thousand stores. Now, they have twenty thousand stores.
Back then, I used to ride my bicycle from La Mesa to OB, Cabrillo Monument & to Jungle Java & back. That helped me keep my boyish figger.


Chris B November 23, 2022 at 2:19 pm

I’m willing to bet, because it’s so obvious, that they are closing because they are experiencing ever- declining business attributable to the unsavory characters that sleep and beg right next to their front door. Come on. They got rid of indoor seating and customer restrooms due to the presence of these “travellers” (I’m being kind here) loitering inside and outside of the building. Where are the police in this town? I’ve been around here for 20+ years and OB is going down the crapper exponentially.


Frank Paiano November 23, 2022 at 5:44 pm

Don’t be fooled! How much ya’ wanna’ bet they will just be moving up the street and occupying the drive-thru location that used to house U.S. Bank and before that, Peninsula Bank? They are not stupid. They know they can clean up with the Sunset Cliffs crowd as they pass through OB. We don’t call it TenBuck$ for nothing, ya’ know!


Chris B November 26, 2022 at 3:17 pm

Oh, I’ll take that bet too Frankie.


Debbie November 26, 2022 at 6:06 pm

Spill the Beans is supposed to be going into 4827 Newport – http://www.spillthebeanssd.com/ocean-beach/


Frank Paiano November 26, 2022 at 7:17 pm

Amazing! A local chain beat out the corporate chain. Hard to believe.

I stand corrected. I was sure that they were closing because they had secured the former U.S. Bank drive-thru location.


Chris Kennedy November 27, 2022 at 11:39 am

You may want to check out the Spill the Beans website, menu etc.

/s/ Chris Kennedy


Loady McGee November 29, 2022 at 5:08 pm

I was in a union and it wasn’t great for employees. If you’re pro union, which companies in OB are union? Any? Do they have better wages or benefits then non union? Will you pay higher prices for union labor? Starbucks and non chain coffee houses charge several bucks for a small coffee and a bunch more for an espresso drink. Many will not pay more for that. If youre pro small independent business-Starbucks is one of the few businesses allow people to camp out for hours while maybe buying one thing. And restrooms are open to non customers. What small mom and pops or union companies allow that? Hodad’s is basically an in and out. Food and prices are not better then in and out. Does Hodad’s allow non customers to use the toilets like chains do?


Frank Gormlie November 30, 2022 at 8:37 am

There are so many problems with this comment. Just a week ago, workers at 100 Starbucks across the nation had protests for a union. Starbucks is NOT “a small independent business” but a multi-billion dollar operation. And OB Starbucks a while ago closed their restrooms to non customers. The food at Hodads is much better than an In and Out fastfood burger joint, plus it started as a “mom and pop” eatery, and is one of those places that just took off. In general, unions are able to improve salaries, benefits and working conditions. So you had a bad experience — one person. Try to think of all the 1000s of others who had a different experience.


Loady McGee November 30, 2022 at 3:22 pm

Frank you didn’t read. The smallish indy business like Hodads, etc etc often have high prices and poor service and mediocre products. Spill the Beans coffee is a small chain. So not a small one location indy business in the sense that NIMBYS want. NBIMBYS blocked another small chain, Little Miss Brewing. NIMBYS didn’t want Target. Now they shop there because its convenient. Same thing happened in South Park.
People who think that union jobs are magic haven’t been in unions. And bring able to strike is no guarantee of wage hikes or benefit increases. Months long strikes have happened with no better contracts. San Diego minimum wage is going to $16.30 per hour in January. If workers hate living here I hear Texas is amazing.


Frank Gormlie November 30, 2022 at 4:01 pm

I can’t follow you. What NIMBYs? Who did what to whom? Who’s on first? You make such sweeping and nonsensical statements. Who said anything about “magic”? And thanks for the invite to Texas.


Sorry not Sorry November 30, 2022 at 10:10 am

Anti-union people usually don’t think they should thank unions for many of the benefits that they themselves have. If it weren’t for unions, you wouldn’t have vacation pay, 40 hour work weeks, health insurance, etc., etc. Much of which was negotiated by unions. Non-union businesses had to adopt the same benefits as unions just to keep talented workers from leaving and going to unions shops. Sure, it is frustrating as hell to see how unions protect some of the “less than desirable” employees that abuse the protection that comes with union membership, but this isn’t a perfect world.


loady mcgee November 30, 2022 at 3:30 pm

That’s amazing. Were you working a blue collar job in the 1930’s so you have first hand knowledge? You were a coal miner? Funny how all the pro union pundits were never in a union like I was. I was in a huge international union and got a little more then minimum wage to do hard manual labor. And the workers on the previous contract were paid more. Because striking would not get a better contract. It depends on the union, the employer and the contract. And you are not going to pay a lot more for that product or service that costs more to pay higher labor costs. You will shop at a non union company. You aren’t going to pay $10 for a cup of coffee. Now government unions are good in helping their employees. Many who shouldn’t be working. That isn’t what we are talking about.


Sorry not Sorry December 1, 2022 at 8:05 am

Try again Loady, been working for this same union at TWO different print shops. Had a year in between the first and current shop at a non-union shop. I am here to tell you that the union shops don’t charge more because they have higher wages and more benefits. The non-union shops charge the same as the union shops with less benefits, lower pay and forced overtime. (I rarely refused overtime, but that isn’t the point). My current shop charges a little more than the others in town, but we have newer equipment, a bigger building, and more capabilities and better service. It seems to be that non-union shops charge closer to union shops because they can. The owners just pocket more money. Literally, the only thing better at the non-union shop, was they had a better Christmas party. I know, I know, capitalism. Funny how you just assume(d) that people that claim to be pro-union were never in one. I guess I proved that wrong. Here’s an idea, ask your UPS driver how he likes his union. Get his/her opinion. Then when your done with that, compare FedEx and UPS’s shipping rates.


Geoff Page November 30, 2022 at 11:04 am

I started working for a non-union underground contractor as a laborer. I learned how to operate machinery while there. I quit that job in the dead of winter, in central Michigan when no one else was working, because I was fed up with the treatment. I was broke. A few years later I got into the Operating Engineers union. The difference was astonishing.

I did what lots of guys did then, started non-union with hopes of eventually getting a union job. Sorry not Sorry is correct. The conditions non-union workers have today only exist because non-union companies have to provide them to keep people. Good wages and benefits and even training programs, just like union shops. But, I hate to think how fast much of that would fade away if the unions ever went away.


Frank Gormlie November 30, 2022 at 11:38 am

Okay, Geoff, as long as you’re bringing up old, former jobs … while at UCSD, I got a summer job at Convair making okay (union) money. But it turns out the company was screwing with me, and not paying me the amount for the kind of work I was doing. You know who caught the “mistake”? My union shop steward.


Geoff Page November 30, 2022 at 11:48 am

That was similar to how I got in the union. I got a job working for a company here in San Diego I did not know was a union shop. They had me working for several months at a wage that was about two thirds of what the union wage was. One day, I was working in Tierrasanta alone on a backhoe when this big black car pulled up. Guy got out and asked me for my union card. I had no idea what he was talking about. He explained the situation and told me to go down to Normal St. and get signed up. The company was very grateful for me working with them to fudge how long I had been working that way to lessen their fine. I was in the union for over 12 years.


Frank Gormlie November 30, 2022 at 11:36 am

Did you know that railroad workers don’t have paid sick leave? That is freaking amazing! That was/ is one of the biggest issues for their unions. Meanwhile, railroads are raking it in, in billions of $$.


Frank Gormlie December 1, 2022 at 3:19 pm

Starbucks Violated Law and Must Bargain With Union in Seattle: NLRB
The coffee giant, which plans to appeal, “is continuing its aggressive anti-union campaign against workers by delaying, confusing, and flat-out refusing to bargain with them,” said Starbucks Workers United.

After months of lawbreaking, Starbucks must swiftly begin negotiating with a union formed at one of its locations in Seattle, the federal agency that enforces labor law reaffirmed Wednesday.

The unanimous decision from three members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) comes after employees of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery at 1124 Pike St. in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood voted 38-27 in April to form a union—which the company has been fighting against since. https://www.commondreams.org/news/2022/12/01/starbucks-violated-law-and-must-bargain-union-seattle-nlrb?utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=daily_newsletter_text


sealintheSelkirks December 1, 2022 at 5:32 pm

Two things. One about this article, the other on the comments.

Corporations lie. Constantly. About everything. Don’t believe a single public statement from them. Any statement has been molded by their paid staff psychiatrists to manipulate you. They’re GOOD at this. It’s what they do.
The vast majority of us really can’t imagine how bad it actually was for people in the labor class before unions. Starbucks owners? Same mentality. Labor has always had to fight to even shake a few crumbs from their fat greedy sweaty clutching fingers.

Frank: My dad was union at Convair, too (before your time). Head stock clerk, then both him & stepmom joined the teacher’s union in the late 60s like his unionizing aunties did in the 1920s & 30s. And Mom was in a Stage Actor’s Guild, Shakespeare at Old Globe & downtown SD playhouse, in the 50 & 60s. Lot of union in my family so I saw that unions tend to do more good than harm except when shady characters take over and start acting like the bosses they are supposed to dispute with…then you get the same damn problems popping up.
Progressive Guru: You had me spit hot tea through my nose laughing! The ‘my fix takes precedent over all else” was hilarious due to the number of comments about the awful drug addicts that hang out…around a drug-dealing establishment with 200,000 outlets. The irony of that is immense.
Ahahahahaha! I needed some humor today. But I never could stand the stuff.

And people will use the bathroom. I would rather they not poop in the alley, yes? How many public toilets are there in OB and where are they located?

Back to snow-blowing the fresh 18-22″ that fell since yesterday. Nice having a headlight and heated handles. Ta-ta!



Progressive Guru December 4, 2022 at 9:59 am

Thanks for the kind reply. Sure, there’s some irony there, but caffeine is legal. Furthermore, not all of the homeless/traveling/street folks down there are necessarily “drug addicts”. It all rolls into one. Starfuckers isn’t all bad; it’s just partially bad. Sure, Obecians hate the concept of corporate coffee, but they do purvey good shit. Apples and oranges?


Not Sure December 5, 2022 at 5:10 pm

Spill the beans is a four location corporation. That’s what peets and Starbucks once were.


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