The storefront Ocean Blue Company on the Venice Beach Boardwalk will be closing its doors after more than 20 years in business.
Frequent visitors to the boardwalk may be familiar with the shop for its eclectic mix of merchandise such as colorful painted wood framed mirrors, incense, candles, and sterling silver jewelry.
With its impending closure, Ocean Blue will put on a farewell party for the community from 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4 at the store, 1313 Ocean Front Walk, Venice. The event will feature live music and poetry, art, refreshments, snacks and treats.
Among the scheduled performers are poet Ava Bird, singer/guitarist Greg Cruz with Petr Hromadko on upright bass, as well as singer-songwriters Geoffrey J and Kathy Leonardo.
During the farewell event, Ocean Blue managers said the store will slash prices 50 percent on all merchandise.
Recalling how the Ocean Blue store got started, owner Larry Gutin remembered traveling to Indonesia in 1990 where he fell in love with Bali and the beautiful arts and crafts made there.
Gutin said he shipped some merchandise back to his brother and co-worker, Jeff, to see if it would sell and it was indeed a big hit in Venice. Gutin said he continued to bring beautiful items from Bali to sell at Ocean Blue and silver jewelry was later added to the product line.
After his brother decided to retire from the business, Gutin became the chief in command.
He noted that the business has struggled in recent years due to the economic downturn but he has managed to keep it afloat with the help of the Venice community’s support.
When asked why he continued the business for so long, Gutin explained, “Everyday I would meet smiling tourists from all over the world. It was a great place to come to work everyday, not to mention that when I built the store I made sure the register had a direct view of the beach and its sunsets.”
Gutin said he has plans to start a new business.
During his time in Venice, Gutin has been a big supporter of the arts. Each month, Ocean Blue would participate in the Venice Art Crawl featuring local artists at the store.
Gutin also has consistently donated merchandise to charity events such as Jazz at the Palms Court and the Venice Music Festival, for their silent auction which benefits the Venice Community Housing Corporation.
Ocean Blue will remain open through Jan. 4.