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O.C. Business Plus | HEARD ON THE BEAT / RETAIL

Oakley's O Store an Irvine O-riginal

July 07, 1999|LESLIE EARNEST | Leslie Earnest covers retail businesses for The Times. She can be reached at (714) 966-7832 and at leslie.earnest@latimes.com

The grand opening of the new O Store at the Irvine Spectrum Center was splashy, theatrical and noisy. In other words, it was pure Oakley.

Music blared, videos played and founder Jim Jannard welcomed guests wearing a gas mask. (Don't ask.)

Before the doors were opened to the public Friday, Foothill Ranch-based Oakley feted retailers, buyers and athletes, proudly showing off the store that Jannard said was pulled together in just a month. "Thirty days ago we had no lease, no design and no supervision," he said.

The 1,800-square-foot store sells Oakley sunglasses, shoes, watches and clothes. It is also outfitted with equipment to demonstrate Oakley's technology. The company said it is not currently planning to open additional stores, and Jannard said the O Store does not pose a threat to other retailers.

Outside, fans waited eagerly for the strike of 7 p.m., when the black cloth draping the store's front was to be swept away. "We've been sitting on this [bench] for three hours," said Kisha Robb, a 24-year-old Garden Grove resident. "I have a lot of friends who work there. And I love the glasses. I have three pair."

Some in the crowd questioned all the hoopla. Still, they were curious enough to hang around until the store opened and Jannard invited a small girl to be the first through the door.

Nearby retailers were just glad to see the additional foot traffic and said they hoped it would continue. Aaron Jakl, a salesman at BC Sports Collectibles, said the high-profile store is bound to help.

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