By Jake Christie
November 11, 2014 (La Mesa)--No grand statement was made; no final red tag sale was held. The All Things Bright and British shop at 8401 La Mesa Boulevard just faded away during the first fortnight of October, due to an unforgiving new landlord and general exhaustion by store owner Bill Jaynes, who has run the store since 2009.
He had taken it over from his mother, who began the store with his father (now deceased) in the mid-1970s. All Things Bright and British had been in La Mesa since 1980 or 1981, working out of a small building that had two salesrooms, a tiny back office, and a storage closet.
In his time owning the shop, Bill Jaynes had to face a large number of problems. The back room’s roof leaked, he was involved in a long-running renovation job of the ceiling, and drew controversy for opposing the City Council’s plan for a property and business improvement district and speaking on the matter in the public forum of almost every City Council meeting in the two years the item was being discussed. He also possibly earned disfavor for having banners supporting the upcoming La Mesa term limits proposition displayed outside his store.
In order to counter this Jaynes ran a series of yard sales, selling other people’s gear on consignment, also things he had won in a storage unit auction, and the sales culminated in a three day outdoor marathon where he stayed at the store day and night because he could not move all the items back inside after sundown.
Greg Houska, FBI Special Agent, had been Jaynes’ landlord for two of the five years he ran the store. He had purchased the store from a previous landowner who had wanted to convert the property into a condominium, but the zoning would not allow it. There was a lot of friction between them in the last number of months the store was open, even though Jaynes had taken up part-time jobs to pay the back rent.
Instead of having a normal store closing, Houska changed all the locks and left a Sheriff’s “notice of non-entry” letter taped to the inside of the front window. He told Bill Jaynes he could have the sign on the mansard roof, but then reneged and painted over it in brown, Jaynes indicated. He also had some of the outdoor store art painted over in brown.
Bill Jaynes has told this reporter that he wants to try to run a British goods shop somewhere in San Diego County, but that he needs “a lot of capital” to pay for building rent and electricity during the non-peak periods, which include most of the year. He is thinking about going to North County, where there is a large population of South Africans who like British goods, though he would look into La Mesa again, if the economy picks up.
(Full disclosure: Jake Christie volunteered time at “All Things Bright and British” moving items, and is a friend of Bill Jaynes’.)