Staple Ocean Beach home décor store tried to open, shut down within hours

Karen's Consignment Gallery
Posted at 6:02 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 22:32:28-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - An Ocean Beach consignment store tried to open Tuesday, with safety precautions in place, and was shut down hours later due to the stay home order.

Karen's Consignment Gallery has perched on the corner of Voltaire Street and Wabaska Drive for nearly 30 years. The past six weeks they've been shut down due to the pandemic.

Rob Murray bought the store a decade ago, and right now he says they're on the verge of going out of business.

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"We have rent and utility bills and advertising and payroll and so on and so on," he said while there are practices in place to protect businesses, he says he can't wait for bills to pile up.

Murray said he has been barraged by messages from the community asking when they would reopen.

One customer told Murray "he was moving to Vegas and he had to be out by the end of the month and he needed to get rid of a couch and a dining room set." He said if they didn't take the furniture it would have stayed in the unit or ended up on the street.

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So he opened his doors Tuesday with community support from their Facebook page.

"We required everybody to have a mask on, we asked them to practice social distancing, we have sanitizer and gloves all over the store," Murray said he followed all the same precautions he's seen at grocery stores.

Murray said they had a small steady stream of customers, no more than 5 in the store at a time.

"The day was progressing and I felt good again." Murray said it was the first time he'd smiled in six weeks.

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Four hours into the day, they were shut down.

"The local community service officer for the police department said we had to close the business. I had a discussion with him I asked him why, he said you're not an essential business and I said, 'Who determines that?" he said. The officer gave him a warning and said if he tried to reopen he would be fined.

"I feel like my right to provide for my family and to own a business and run a business is being violated," Murray said.

The County Health Order does not list furniture stores as essential.

Murray's argument was why can't he open when dispensaries and liquor stores are open?

The governor asked the public for patience during the stay home order, hoping to reopen some retail in a matter of weeks.

"What we need to do in my humble perspective is listen to the public health experts," Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

The Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association sent 10News a statement that read in part, "We estimate that 80 percent of our storefront businesses are currently closed. Our Promotion Committee meets this Friday to discuss opportunities we could provide to our merchants for online sales going forward."

OBMA also said they've sent out resources for the businesses. Murray has applied for the Paycheck Protection Program with no luck so far.

"If this goes on much longer, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to reopen," he said.

Murray hopes they can hang on at least to October, when they could celebrate their 30th Anniversary.

Murray sent a letter to the Mayor's Office asking Mayor Kevin Faulconer to consider reopening small businesses who rely on cash flow.

The Mayor's Office sent 10News this statement, "Small businesses that are not essential are not allowed to be open at this time, per the Governor’s stay-at-home order.

The Mayor recognizes the tough environment small businesses are in and has made resources available by going to: or"