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Hidden Gems: Meet Jenae Kuchman of OB Hardware

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenae Kuchman. 

Hi Jenae, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
When we heard OB Hardware was for sale in early 2021, we were curious and looked into the pricing. It was a little more than we were expecting so we tabled it for some time, all the while still keeping it in the back of our minds. We live very close to the store and spent a lot of time there when we renovated our home several years back. It’s always been a cornerstone of the community, and we loved what the then-current owner had done to turn it around with a new logo, piano, and updated look and feel. Several months passed, and we heard the store was still at risk of closing, so we re-engaged with the sale and found ourselves getting really excited about the prospect of owning our own business, but not just any business, one that was engrained with the community and that stood for the independent nature of Ocean Beach. We’ve lived in Ocean Beach for years, and as a 3rd generation San Diego native, Jenae felt like it was a great fit to keep the legacy of the store alive. Joe, who comes from a long line of carpenters, architects, and handymen, always felt right at home in the shop. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The store came with a great set of existing employees, but much of the processes, including inventory management and the point-of-sale system, had not been upgraded in some time. We’re still working on updating the inventory management system which includes the task of scanning all 15,000+ items in the shop. We’ve also experienced some staffing issues in finding experienced / skilled screen repair folks to add to the great crew we already have. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next, you can tell us a bit more about your business?
OB Hardware has been in business for 103 years and counting. The shop caters to locals with all the basics, including home repair items, plumbing, hardware, tools, and fasteners. On top of this, the shop also includes a nearly-all organic garden center and a custom screen repair shop. We also offer top-notch customer service; clients often come into the shop with complex issues which we help solve free of charge. We also invest in our brand as a community-focused family-run business sponsoring several charity events and children’s activities year-round. Tourists and locals alike love our OB Hardware merchandise and support us by sporting hats and tees with our vintage branding. 

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
Trust but verify, we have had some issues with theft and had to beef up our security system. 

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Jenae Kuchman

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