By Claire Harlin
For Carmel Valley residents Annie and Chris Glenn, what began with a $5,000 loan to start a kiosk in Horton Plaza in 1993 has blossomed into six storefronts, including a new Del Mar Plaza surf wear shop set to open in December.
Partners in both business and in marriage, the two met while in college when they both worked at Nordstrom, and they’ve always shared an entrepreneurial vision.
Their kiosk, which specialized in Coca-Cola memorabilia, soon turned into a full-on shop, which still exists today as American Nostalgia, located in Seaport Village. The Glenns have also opened three other shops in Seaport Village over the years: San Diego Surf Co., Shoe Shack by San Diego Surf Co. and Urban Girl Accessories.
It wasn’t until May when the Glenns moved their business north, not only to tread on a new venture but to be closer to home.
“All my friends wanted me to open one locally so they wouldn’t have to go all the way to Seaport,” Annie said.
The couple was eating at SmashBurger one day earlier this year and saw the “for lease” sign in the window, and thought the Del Mar Plaza would be the perfect fit for Urban Girl.
“But we didn’t know if they would want us,” Annie said. “We’re not a big corporation. We’re just a mom and pop shop.”
Not even a year later, Urban Girl has been more of a success than the couple ever imagined, and they said it was a “no brainer” to also bring San Diego Surf Co. to the Del Mar Plaza, as well.
“Urban Girl Del Mar exceeded our expectations tenfold,” Annie said. “We are really blessed it’s doing so well.”
San Diego Surf Co.’s opening is set for December, sometime before Christmas, and the shop will offer surf wear, minus the actual surf gear and boards. They will also sell their signature San Diego Surf Co. tees, which Annie said is the “bread and butter” of their Seaport business.
The two are optimistic that their new shop will be as well-received as Urban Girl, and they’ve just recently added a district manager to their team, who was promoted from within, to help with the growth.
Before that, Annie said, they ran everything themselves.
“Our kids even work in the stores, and when they were young I had the front pack on or stroller behind the counter,” Annie said “We’ve been a great team. I’m the smile up front and he’s the brains behind.”