“Keep it local! — O.B. is not a strip mall!”
  • “Keep it local! — O.B. is not a strip mall!”
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Anti-Target protesters gathered at the ocean end of Newport Avenue on the afternoon of August 31 before marching down the street and through the weekly farmers’ market. Vendors encouraged the protesters with hoots of support.

"They’ve already kicked out enough mom-and-pop businesses in O.B.,” said a protester.

One of the main organizers of the protest, Kim McGinley, chanted, “Keep it local!” and “O.B. is not a strip mall!” through a megaphone, fellow protesters repeating after her. A little girl, no older than seven years old, took the megaphone for a brief anti-Target rant. The march ended after a block and a half, in front of the Ocean Beach Antique Mall where a Target Express has been proposed.

Arlene Ede, a local originally from “Back East — East L.A,” she said with a hearty laugh, relayed a relative’s disgust over her attendance at the protest. “She called me a liberal — I’m not! I’m just sticking up for my community. Hey, it’s my right to protest! If I don’t like something, I’m gonna make my voice heard. They’ve already kicked out enough mom-and-pop businesses in O.B.”

The Antique Mall is reputedly being sold for $6.5 million, but “nothing is final,” according to statement released by Target on August 30.

Perhaps it is the slow takeover of Ocean Beach by corporations that has led to the skepticism that I heard from many when I asked if they’d be attending the protest. One of my friends remarked, “If you really want to make a difference, why don’t you ask the landowners why they are charging so much in rent that only a corporation can afford to buy the place?”

“You can’t blame the owners alone for wanting to retire,” I replied. “It’s a systemic issue” (though I understand his perspective).

As the crowd slowly dissipated, I noticed a familiar face carrying a pile of signs — a previous customer of mine when I worked at a local coffee shop.

“Well, what can we really do?" I asked him. "I mean, look at Starbucks.” The corporation opened a store on Newport Avenue in 2001 after months of protests.

“Oh, this is just one of many protests," the man said. "I’ve been doing this for years. There are still people that are boycotting Starbucks. It’s one of the smallest Starbucks out there, the sign is nearly blacked out…. You heard about Winchell’s in the ’70’s right?” he recounted with a gleam in his eyes. “They fire-bombed [a couple Winchell's stores in protest], twice!”

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Comments

JustWondering Aug. 31, 2017 @ 8:40 p.m.

Why don't all those protestors form a group an buy the building themselves. Then they can try and make it a viable business. They can partition off the interior and rent out space to all of those failed mom and pop businesses they want back on Newport.

The facts are these protestors have nothing better to do with their time or lives and, worse, they don't have a pot to piss in so they want everyone else to exist at their level of misery.

Target would bring in jobs as well as price competition and that my friends would be a very positive change for O.B.

So know let the hate filled responses commence...

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Tad87 Aug. 31, 2017 @ 9:46 p.m.

No hate in this response, but, JustWondering... where'd you get your facts, mate? Okay, where to start... Firstly, your "brilliant" original idea isn't so original. Now, you can't partition anything to "failed... businesses", can you? Nice try at a jab, but you missed like McGregor. OB locals have brought up the idea of a Real Estate Investment Trust. Look it up. This, as you would have known if you did any looking into the subject at all, would open the doors to numerous viable options. One of the most popular of which is a community marketplace, much like the one in Liberty Station. These are increasingly popular worldwide (look that up, too).

Your facts are not, well, facts. I personally know many of those protestors. A lot of them sacrificed their valuable time. In that mix were business owners, university professors, high-budget advertising experts, students, and successful artists. Many, if not the overwhelming majority, there live in OB, where rent is ridiculously expensive, so, quite indeed, they all have pots to piss in. Nice ones, too, some with that cool dual-flush-option thingy. Life in OB is pretty darn sweet. No misery there. Troll McGregor misses again.

Okay, in your last paragraph you try to get smart. Try not to do that too often, buddy. It makes you look lost, like how McGregor finished against Mayweather. In community meetings, Target officials said they would "try" to employ 70% locals. This, of course, is part-time, minimum-wage, no-benefits. Beyond that, the difference in job rates at Target Express compared to a communal market is equivocal; it could be less, especially with corporate layoff hikes and automated checkout, etc. And, if you knew anything about "price competition", you'd know Target Express's stuff is equal if not more expensive than comparable products in OB (seriously, go there and poke around) and big-box retailers are struggling to compete against online enterprises, so their prices can't decrease too much more. On the flip side, boutique shops offer goods and personal experiences you can't get online.

Okay, gotta wrap it up now. The biggest thing here is that, if you don't understand what makes Target so bad, you don't understand what makes OB so good. So, stop wondering and learn, or troll out.

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JustWondering Sept. 1, 2017 @ 10:09 a.m.

Tad87: I see you joined The Reader family yesterday, August 31st, and your sarcastic reply was your first comment ever on The Reader. Welcome! Glad to have you chime in.

While it's not my job to defend Target, here are some fun facts about the company.. Regarding your complaint with the word "try". I suspect everyone eventually employed by any Target store is, or will become, a "local". But I don't know what your "definition" of a local is? If you're implying local means; has to live in 92107 to get a job there, then that is unreasonable. In fact, I'd label that as community racism, and certainly unfair to anyone seeking a job who chooses to live elsewhere. In fact, if those are the beliefs of the protestors, and I believe they are, then the O.B. Community is anything but open.

I really don't get the rabid resistance to change which is fanatical in nature. Maybe you can explain it. Really, mate!

My wife says I should mention I've lived in the O.B. area all my life, going on sixty plus years. I've seen a lot of changes, the vast majority, positive ones. In fact, I knew the building in question when it was Coronets, our family purchased many things there as it was a great variety store in the community. But trends change and for whatever reason the store closed. Then, Craig Gerwig took over the space and created the Antique Mall concept, and I've know Craig since we were kids. He's a good guy.

I was disappointed when "The Strand" closed down. Having a community movie theater was convenient, but the O.B. community once again failed to support it and this time it was multiple times ultimately leading to its demise. The building still stands, but it serves a different purpose today.

The same is in store for the Mall, pardon the pun, new owners will create jobs, add to the fabric of the neighborhood and generate revenue for the city though sales, property and payroll taxes. What was once old, will become new again.

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dwbat Sept. 1, 2017 @ 1:58 p.m.

It was called Cornet (NOT "Coronets"). ;-)

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mb2121 Sept. 3, 2017 @ 3:58 p.m.

I agree with JustWondering, I too have lived in OB my entire life, 40+ years. I remember as a kid going back-to-school shopping at Cornet. My parents tell me about how they used to go bowling in OB or the lumber yard that used to reside there. There were 2 pet shops in one block of Newport. I saw countless movies at The Strand and missed it greatly. But I did start going to the theaters over in Sports Arena because they offered a better movie experience.

I truly try to support the local businesses but it's hard when it feels like they don't at least try to compete with the competition. I tried going to 4 different local coffee carts/shops but inconsistent product and higher prices and I ended up at Starbucks. Same thing with the pet store that used to be on Newport. I would pay almost $20 more than Petco for the pet stuff I needed. I'm afraid OB Hardware is next. It is convenient to be able to run down the street to get that little thing I need for my project but if I'm buying more than a couple things I go to Home Depot.

Change will come and not everyone will be happy about it. Every local I know is OK with Target moving in there. Big corporations are big because they figured out how to run their business well. I'm for that. I don't remember this type of push back when all the local business were being replaced with antique shops 20 years ago. Before that Antique shops weren't part of OB's character.

I heard that Target isn't including a hardware section or a pharmacy in their Express store on Newport so as to not compete Rite Aid/CVS or OB Hardware.

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