Marketplace News

L & M Gifts stocks some of the rarest seashells around

OCEANSIDE — The recognizable row of American flags still fly outside L& M Gifts on Coast Highway 101, but the merchandise inside the gift shop has changed since new owners Minda Webb and Graham Webb took over operations in June.
After closing the store in September for three weeks of remodeling, the store reopened Oct. 14 and is now repainted with a seascape mural and stocked with exotic shells.
Every size and shape of shell imaginable can be found hanging from the ceiling or sorted in rows of baskets. There is also a wide selection of coral. Some of the coral pieces are the size of small tabletops. The gift shop boasts the largest seashell selection between La Jolla and San Clemente.
“If a shell is available for sale, we have it for sale here,” Graham Webb said.
Some of the shells in stock are rare collectors items that are increasingly difficult to obtain each year. Webb credits the connections he made as a businessman in South East Asia for his ability to secure rare shells.
Also for sale are a wide variety of kitchen magnets, Oceanside theme T-shirts, local artwork and collectable souvenirs.
“It’s a light beach atmosphere,” Webb said. “There’s a kids section with kids clothes and beach buckets. Everything in the store is Oceanside themed.”
Webb is a collector himself. A display case along the back wall of the store shows off 450 BC to 14th century treasures he accumulated from his business travels in Indonesia, South America and Andalusia. On display are ancient pottery pieces, figurines and a Mayan priest necklace.
Now retired from international real estate sales, Webb said he opened the gift shop with his wife Minda to give seashell and novelty collectors a place to find treasures.
“Our typical customer locally is looking for something you don’t find in Target or Wallmart,” Webb said. “We do not want to be selling the same thing as the guy down the street.”
L& M Gifts is at 307A N. Coast Highway 101.