Kwirkworld in downtown SLO is closing in February

Kwirkworld in downtown San Luis Obispo is closing its doors at the end of February.
Kwirkworld in downtown San Luis Obispo is closing its doors at the end of February.

Kwirkworld, the quirky store known for such items as beer bongs, candy G-strings and cards that push the envelope, is closing its San Luis Obispo store at the end of February.

“We’re not making the money we used to make, and the rents are really high here,” said manager Pete Ray.

Kirk Psenner opened Kwirkworld at 766 Higuera St. five years ago. Eventually, two more stores opened in Fresno and Folsom. Offering humorous novelty items, Kwirkworld sells potato clocks, Ron Burgandy mugs, Duck Dynasty shirts, Beatles lunch boxes, fez hats and bacon ornaments.

“We were always known for quirky, over-the-top cards you couldn’t get anywhere else,” Ray said.

They also sell a few risqué items, which prompted Psenner to post a PG-13 sign at the front when he first opened.

In San Luis Obispo, Ray said, people often stop by to browse the items. But while business did well initially, each year sales went down.

“It’s sad that we didn’t get enough people to keep it here,” Ray said. “Our Fresno store does really well.”

The store never established an online presence, which might have hurt.

“E-commerce has really affected business,” Ray said.

While the rent hasn’t gone up, the monthly rate of $10,000 posed a challenge, especially when large box stores not located downtown began selling some of the items Kwirkworld would offer, Ray said.

The store employs about eight people, he said.

Kwirkworld is currently selling items at 40 percent off, he said, though sales will be even better as the closing date nears.