The Green Store of OB – sitting in an old storefront at 4827 Voltaire Street – has to move. After 17 years being in the same location, the environmentally-and-socially- minded shop was given a 60 day eviction notice by its landlord on April 1st – and it wasn’t a joke.
But Colleen Dietzel – owner and manager – is not bitter. She and her partners at the Green Store have had a wonderful relationship with their landlord, Gregg Sullivan over the years. “He’s been very good to us,” Colleen told me over the phone. “Gregg supported what we’ve been doing here,” she said.
In a bit of irony, Colleen is getting ready to celebrate the Green Store’s 23rd anniversary this April 22nd. The store originally opened in a storefront on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard on Earth Day 1989 – April 22nd, and the famous environmentalist David Brower came down to be part of the festivities. Six years later, they had to move again. That’s when she and her partner Kip Kruegar moved into the place on Voltaire. Sullivan didn’t buy the place until 7 years later, so he’s been their landlord for the past ten years.
“Gregg needs to open a store himself,” Colleen told me. “Maybe a surf shop with furniture.” She wasn’t sure, but she did know she has to find a new place in OB, and preferably in North OB and on Voltaire Street. She does have a couple of leads, but they are more expensive than what she’s been used to.
Primarily, the Green Store is a lending library with magazines and books on everything green and every socially-progressive issue. It also has posters, bumper stickers, T-shirts (OB Rag T-shirts can be found there), buttons, and other ecological odds and ends for sale. The Green Store has also been a meeting space for different groups over the years. The OB Rag also has an office there, and probably will go with the store to its new site.
“We’re looking for sponsors,” she said pointedly, “and someone to share space,” in wherever they move to. Colleen told me that she can afford to pay perhaps half the rent in her future place, referring to the going-rates on Voltaire Street storefronts. “If we can find maybe 50 people to each pledge $10 a month, we can do it.”
“So you are looking for sponsors?” I asked. Yup, she agreed. She does want to find a place nearby where the Green Store can set up shop and continue to offer the same info and materials to the community. I asked her whether she anticipated any changes at the new place – once she finds one and moves in.
They’ll be open more hours, she told me. Once they move, the Green Store will still be a library, a center for information, and will continue to offer meeting space for progressive groups.
Now Colleen and the few people who volunteer their time to keep the doors open are looking for those pledges. If you are interested in donating or becoming a sponsor, or have ideas of a new storefront, don’t hesitate to call Colleen at the Green Store at 619-225-1083. She can also be reached via email : firstname.lastname@example.org .
In 2009, the OB Rag helped the Green Store celebrate its 20th anniversary with this:
Ever since 1989, the iconic ecology store has steadfastly held its ground, offering books, magazines, bumper stickers, buttons, T-shirts (OB Rag blog has our shirts there), posters and other green products and mementos, while also serving as an anti-corporate space, a lending library, a meeting site for area groups, and the headquarters for any thing green in OB.
For instance, during the days that OB Grassroots Organization was alive, it used to meet at the Green Store. Plus when the group sponsored the garden at Voltaire Park in the empty lot across the street from the Green Store, the store was the center for maintaining the garden.
Twenty years ago, Colleen and Kip were synonymous with OB’s Green Party. As their activism in that group faded, they kept active around any and every environmental issue, whether nukes, Styrofoam or protesting Starbucks.
Colleen can still be found in the store most days. She does recycling for a number of Ocean Beach bars and restaurants as her other paying job. A few volunteers help her out in the Store…..