The James Gang, currently located on Bacon Street (at Santa Monica) in Ocean Beach, is moving back to its original stomping grounds — Newport Avenue.
“James Gang started above the mini-mart over there [on Newport],” owner Jim Berdeguez told me, "then about a year later moved in where Mallory’s Furniture currently is — until, like, 1991 or '92, I think — and we’ve been in this location since then.”
The current location is just off the beaten path, and although Berdeguez says business is great, they’ve been itching to get back to the main street.
“We’ve been looking for an opportunity to get back on Newport Avenue, basically, because James Gang started out there, and finally the right time and the right opportunity came up,” said Berdeguez, adding that he does not know who will be occupying his leased space once they are out. “We definitely will be in the new space next month, no later than Thanksgiving. We want to be in by Small Business Saturday, which is right after Thanksgiving weekend.”
The graphics and screen-printing company was founded in 1976 and has remained true to the community flavor with custom T-shirts, most with retro flair, showcasing the vibe and attractions of Ocean Beach.
“We really believe in community and local labor, and that’s one thing O.B. is known for — 'the Village on the Sea' is what people call it,” he continued. “I think, business-wise, it might work out for us, moving onto Newport is going to give us more visibility."
The new location is at 4851 Newport, the old O.B. Hookah Lounge location directly across the street from the soon-to-be Target Express — which has been met with protests and "No Target in OB" T-shirts made by, you guessed it, the James Gang.
They released this statement when the shirts were produced: "We stand alongside our community in opposing the addition of a Target Express within Ocean Beach. Our community is a small-business centered community, and we stand with our fellow small-business owners in saying 'No Target in Ocean Beach!'"
"I have nothing against Target,” Berdeguez laughed. "It's gonna be fun, it’s going to be interesting to get back on Newport — that’s the big thing. We’re calling it 'James Gang: New Beginnings.’”