"I'm out. I'm not struggling anymore."
At 62 years old -- and after almost 31 years in business -- Glenn Paculba is not entirely disappointed to be retiring, but it wasn't entirely his choice. On Tuesday, the Star Surfing Company will close its doors for the last time.
"It's just the economy," Paculba said. "It's too soft."
Paculba opened Star Surfing Company on Mission Boulevard in 1979, and he has the pictures to prove it. He's taken thousands of photos of his customers over the years. Many cover the shop's walls. There are flags on the ceiling from other countries sent from customers on whom Paculba made an impression. He tells stories about people meeting here and getting married. This was more than a surf shop.
"It's just hard on a lot of us because he's been around forever," said Jason Florence who came to the shop as a kid and later worked for Paculba. "He's kind of like the Godfather, if you will."
Paculba said the current economy is not helping him but that he saw the end coming three years ago. He said that Internet sales and larger corporate stores have made it increasingly difficult on mom and pop businesses like his.
"We see it first," Paculba said. "We're in the trenches. We're the first place that the guy-who-loses-his-jobs' son doesn't buy certain things anymore."
In three decades, Paculba has seen the neighborhood change. He said the '80s and '90s were the boom time for surf shops.
"So, I've lived the good part, and I'm living the bad part now," he said with a laugh. "But it's OK."
Customers poured in on Saturday, and not just because almost everything was half off. Paculba knew a lot of them by their first names and closed a lot of the sales with a hug.
At one point, he got a little choked up talking about how he ran his business.
"Making a simple sale and having the customer realize this is a unique store." he said.
What will he miss the most?