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HUNTINGTON BEACH : City Aiming to Catch Home Shopping Wave

Huntington Beach hopes to give a whole new meaning to channel surfing.

To capitalize on its image as a surfing mecca, the city, along with a local retail store and cable Channel HBTV-3, is launching a home shopping show that will offer such merchandise as a surfboard-shaped clock and surplus city items such as fire hydrants and manhole covers.

“It’s a whole new concept,” said City Council member Shirley S. Dettloff. “Home shopping network programs are something that’s been extremely popular.”

The show will hawk products sold at the Surf City, Huntington Beach Store, housed temporarily at Rockin’ Thredz on Surveyor Circle. Besides surfwear and other clothing, the shop will offer novelties such as old parking meters, even replicas of a Main Street sign.

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The city formed a partnership with business owners Nelson (Bud) Wescott of Rockin’ Thredz and Tina J. Viray of Surf City Designs to start the project.

Wescott and Viray have licensing agreements to sell merchandise such as T-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, key chains and decals carrying Huntington Beach’s logo and Surf City trademark.

Wescott said ideas for products are endless as is the local talent they will seek to make merchandise.

“It’ll be different from the regular surf shop,” he said. “It’ll be eclectic, like an antique store.”

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The city is contributing $6,000 toward the project’s $12,000 start-up costs and will also share the profits. If the venture is successful, the plan is eventually to open a permanent store on or near the city pier.

Richard Barnard, HBTV-3 station manager, said the 30-minute program will begin its broadcast by Sept. 18. Buying access time in other cable-TV markets is also be explored.

The City Council is united in its support for the project. “I see a lot of good public relations coming out of this,” Councilman Dave Garofalo said. “I’m out to market this community.”

Officials have their eye on the bottom line too.

“We have to look at every source of income we can,” Councilman Peter M. Green said, “since property taxes are dropping and sales taxes are leveling off.”


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