Wednesday morning, April 8, as I was strolling down Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach, I noticed that one of O.B.'s most controversial stores had been vandalized.
Wings Beachwear, located in the Strand Theatre building at 4948 Newport Avenue, had apparently been hit by vandals the night before. In addition to graffiti all over the storefront, the taggers wrote "GET OUT OF OB" on the window.
The store has been an ongoing source of controversy in a town that feels strongly about its locally owned, mom-n-pop type of businesses. Wings Beachwear, Inc., has its national headquarters in New York City, along with corporate offices in Miami and Myrtle Beach. They have 28 stores nationwide.
As the Wings website asserts, the stores offer "better prices and value than anyone on the beach." Some locals believe the company’s low prices are a tactic to put local beach-related merchandisers out of business. Wings was protested before it opened and is still seen as a symbol of corporate entities attempting to take over Ocean Beach.
When contacted, the Wings clerk seemed unaware of the vandalism until I informed her about the windows. When asked about past vandalism to the store, the clerk had no comment and referred me to their corporate headquarters.