Tag: retail

Read More

Mystic Mocha Marketing

One of University Height’s fixtures is Mystic Mocha, which through change of ownership survived the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 shutdowns mandated by California Governor Gavin Newsom and also San Diego County health authorities.

Today, as my wife and I walked by the place, we happened upon a sign at the corner of Alabama and Mission. I pulled around Leica Q2, knelt down low, and shot the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 11:39 a.m. PDT.

Read More

In the Windows

In a sudden, surprising retreat, Microsoft announced the closing of all 83 retail stores, on June 26, 2020. Yes, it’s reasonable to wonder if SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns played part in the decision. During normal times, the location at Fashion Valley Mall was never as busy as Apple Store, but the shop served vital brand, sales, and services roles. I am disappointed to see Microsoft Store gone.

I used iPhone 4 to capture the Featured Image, looking inside the San Diego location, on April 19, 2011. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 80, 1/125 sec, 3.85mm; 3:30 p.m. PDT.

Read More

Killer Branding

For the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, I had planned to go with a nature theme. But plans changed after shopping at Grocery Outlet and seeing the wicked instant brew that my wife discovered during another visit. The company and its coffee are about a decade old but they’re new to me (obviously). The instant variety debuted in 2018.

The connotations of Death Wish, “world’s strongest coffee”, and skull-and-crossbones logo are loaded in all the right ways. It’s killer branding. K-pods are called “death cups”.

Read More

Something Strange for Pi Day

Last month, I shared with you the pizza face mural on the side of a restaurant soon to open at El Cajon Blvd and Louisiana in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. Day before yesterday, when returning from checking gas prices at two Texas Street stations, I caught cheesy boy’s reflection in the Postal Convenience Center across the way.

The 34-year-old business suddenly closed on July 6, 2021 after losing its lease. That whole corner block, including several houses on Louisiana, are slated for demolition and redevelopment, presumably as another ugly apartment or condominium complex. Oh joy.

Read More

I Wasn’t Prepared for This

On Valentine’s Day, we rushed to be among the people signing up for “The Prepper’s Roadmap”. Initial enrollment ended on February 18, and we paid $197 for the privilege. The course seeks to educate enrollees about how to prepare for calamities, whether they be natural disasters (like earthquakes or wildfires here in San Diego) or crisis of human instigation (like cyberattack that takes down banking systems or power grids), among others. I would recommend the educational series, if the first-round of registrations hadn’t closed. You can’t sign up today; in the future, though.

My wife and I aren’t so-called preppers—and we never expect be. Meaning: If you’re looking for a horde of food or supplies during an apocalypse, we won’t have it. Our apartment is small and we aren’t of the mindset. That said, we do recognize the increasingly dangerous times in which we live, when looking at advancing economic crisis or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for example. Not being naturally paranoid about catastrophes and preparation for them, Annie and I liked the idea of getting some no-nonsense advice from someone who is sensible rather than the typically fanatical.

Read More

‘Growing with Passion’

Whenever walking by this mural, I often regret not photographing the lively, colorful Yipao Coffee outdoor café that once occupied this location. More importantly: What the place displaced—trees and lush green space that the (permanently closed) florist had used. Hence the irony, if you don’t see it yet, of “growing with passion”; because all that remains is dirt, on top of which vehicles park. Nothing green grows, nor the vitality of human interaction.

In late June 2018, I shared about the departure of Florabella, which had to abandon its 24-year commercial space after the landlord informed the owner that rent would triple effective July 1. I wondered: What will replace the florist? Well, Yipao took up residence in the not-long-later clearcut corner area. Interesting aside: John Adams disappeared and was discovered to be accidentally locked inside the closed floral shop, which Yipao used; perhaps for storage. He is among the “Cats of University Heights“; June 2019.

Read More

Seriously, California?

Sometime last week, my wife asked about getting brighter lightbulbs. IKEA-purchased LEDs are 1,000 lumens and loaded into most of our fixtures, whether ceiling or lamps; but not all. Then, three days ago, I observed during a Zoom meeting that one participant’s ambience so much more appealed than mine—his room being bright and white, while mine was dank and yellow. Color temperature is reason: 5000K lighting vs 2700K. I thought: Why not buy brighter and whiter bulbs?

So I tried shopping locally but ran aground. Is 5000K lighting unavailable because of supply chain problems or is 2700K simply wildly more popular? No San Diego store—not even the place specializing in bulbs—stocked that color temperature in a 100-watt equivalent with brightness greater than 1,000 lumens. That brought me to Amazon and a big surprise: The affordable product that also met my criteria can’t be shipped to California. Huh?

Read More

Return to Sender

I couldn’t expect this. The Postal Convenience Center, located at the corner of El Cajon and Louisiana in San Diego’s University Heights district, is closed—looks like forever. I made the discovery when out for a leisurely walk this afternoon. Signs posted in the windows state: “We Have Moved” and directs customers to 4075 Park Blvd, where their mail will be forwarded. The location is a UPS Store.

A second-hand source says this: The proprietors learned last month that the block of properties has new owners, who will redevelop it. Efforts to continue operations of a business reportedly opened in 1987 ran aground; I don’t know specifics but can guess costs of relocation and starting over on short notice. Postal Convenience Center served locals—many of them likely lost in any lengthy restart. The establishment hasn’t moved, if I am rightly informed. It’s gone for good. 

Read More

My Prime Day Booty

For the first Prime Day in years, I purchased something—two pairs of Levi’s jeans. They fit, or I send them back. With denim-wear these days, sizing is like gambling: Sometimes you hit the jackpot, usually you don’t. Why is that? I have pairs of 28-30 and 29-30 Hollister jeans that are just right but another 29-30 that is way too tight. What’s up with that?

I hope the two 30-29s that an Amazon driver delivered tonight will fit. I’ll find out after posting. Priorities, priorities. My preference would be to shop local, but I couldn’t find that measurement, unless considerably less than 100-percent cotton. Since when is 85 percent, mixed with polyester and elastane (e.g. Lyrica, spandex), jeans?

Read More

‘This is the Ugliest Hat I’ve Seen in My Life’

For only the second time since the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns started 15 months ago, today my wife and I ventured to the local IKEA—a previously frequent haunt. Stark, barren, warehouse atmosphere sank both our moods. The place felt less like lively, stylish Scandinavian showcase of tasteful, affordable household furnishings and more like an apocalyptic wasteland.

Somewhere in the storage section, alongside various-sized blue and yellow-accented polypropylene bags and totes, I came upon the strangest thing: Heavily-logoed bucket hats made out of the same material. I remember wearing that style as a kid—and it was a favorite among the fishermen in Dad’s Allagash hunting parties. Suddenly, bucket hats are fashion-chic—a trend loosely taking hold in 2020 but exploding this year as people emerge from COVID confinement and return to something resembling normalcy.

Read More

Where Will Apple Store Go Next?

I should write a long missive about Apple Store’s 20th anniversary. But my essay from five years ago today serves up the core information. Please read that one for my reflection on the grand opening and what then CEO Steve Jobs meant the retail operation to be and what it actually became.

More significant than being a singular event, Apple Store’s opening represented one of four risks taken in 2001 by the fruit-logo company during a devastating recession. While competitors massively pulled back, such as Gateway shuttering stores, Apple made investments that culminated in release of the first iPhone six years later. Besides retail: iTunes (January); Mac OS X (March); iPod (October). From them evolved the logistics and manufacturing infrastructure, research and development, sales, services, and software that culminated in the smartphone that transformed Apple from a struggling PC company into a tech titan.

Read More

What’s Your Definition of Temporary?

I captured the Featured Image on March 18, 2021, presuming to never need to publish. How mistaken. As of today, more than 13 months after California Governor Gavin Newsom issued his first lockdown order and nearly a week after San Diego County moved into the (supposedly) less-restrictive Orange Tier, the Wells Fargo in Hillcrest is still closed.

You got to love that “branch temporarily closed” sign and wonder why it all seems so permanent. For anyone banking there or thinking that the state really is opening up, don’t be a fool: the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 misery is far from over—and I don’t mean you ever becoming sick.