It is a story that Spot Cafe owner Mitchell Stein said will continue for establishments that don’t serve alcohol: Rising rents and the efficiency of online delivery services will close small restaurants—his own included after the popular Belmont Shore cafe was forced to close its doors.
While Stein has two other Spot locations that will remain open—one in Claremont and another in Upland—his Long Beach location closed up shop last week after Stein received a notice that his rent would rise from $9,200 per month to $13,000.
“The rents are out of control. I am not sure what else to say,” Stein said. “It’s why so many places are leaving Second Street: With the delivery services and ridiculous rent prices, it doesn’t make sense to remain open. The only thing that can survive is a bar.”
The story of rent costs, especially in Belmont Shore, is nothing new. The Rubber Tree, on Second Street for more than 25 years, closed up shop earlier this year, as did Jack in the Box after 57 years, Herman’s Shoe Fashions after 52 years, Jamba Juice after a decade, and Jones Bicycles after serving the community for over a century. Even Stein’s assertion that a bar can survive stands on shaky ground: Acapulco Inn, one of the city’s oldest watering holes, which opened in 1955, shuttered its windows earlier this year.
Stein himself took over Nature Well with Spot Cafe because its previous owners couldn’t afford the upticks in rents once their yearly leases came to an end.
Stein said the the hefty rent hikes, including the nearly 40-percent bump for his location at 4725 E Second St., will hurt the neighborhood in the long run.
“Many long-term residents are leaving,” Stein said. “The landlords are not being smart about catering to a diverse assortment of small businesses. They are only focused on rents and keeping them up as high as possible—which will backfire in the long run because other areas in the city are being developed and thriving because the landlords are making sure there is a mixture of tenants. Someone at the city level really should step in with these landlords, or at least address it.”
Support our journalism.
Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.