In a press release sent out to the media Tuesday by Duffy Jennings Communications, owner Margaret Smith said the store, at 40 N. Santa Cruz Ave., will shut down next month in the face of a rent increase.
said it intends to relocate to a former 10,000-square-foot location in downtown Pleasanton this summer with hopes of returning to downtown Los Gatos sometime in the future. The Domus store in Willow Glen, 1395 Lincoln Ave., San Jose, will remain open, the release stated.
“This is heartbreaking, but it’s the reality of business for independent retailers today,” said Smith, who purchased the store from its original owners in 1996. “We are indebted to Los Gatos and the thousands of loyal customers who have supported Domus over the years.”
Smith said Domus’ lease expires at the end of April, and she can't afford the new rent. The store, which has a dozen employees, will close in late May after more than 41 years in downtown Los Gatos. The specific closing date has not been set, Smith said.
“We would love nothing more than to stay in Los Gatos, but we simply cannot survive this rent increase, and there is no other suitable space available now,” Smith added. “We intend to return as soon as we possibly can. Meanwhile, we hope our customers will continue to shop at Domus of Willow Glen and at our online store, and we invite everyone to visit our Pleasanton store when it reopens in June.”
After being in the building for 35 years, Smith explained her lease was up and the landlord set a rent that her store can't afford. She declined to reveal her rent amount saying she was under a confidentiality agreement.
Los Gatos Mayor Joe Pirzynski reacted with sadness to the news of the business closing: "I'm sure many in town feel the way I do with today's announcement of the closing of Domus. I've lived in Los Gatos for 37 years and Domus has been a downtown fixture as long as I can remember.
"Much has changed in town, but Domus has been a stable part of our dynamic business community. I think it is truly unfortunate to lose a business that has been so much a part of the fabric of our downtown. The independent businesses that comprise such a significant part of the downtown are really the reason our business community is so unique in the valley."
The 8500-square-foot store was originally the site of a gas station before a Dutch family opened the business under a different name in 1969. They changed the name to Domus in 1976. Smith purchased the business in 1996 from the original owners, who retired and moved to Oregon. She then started Domus of Willow Glen, which she sold to a local couple. The name Domus is licensed out, she explained.
Smith said: "I love Los Gatos. It's sad. Domus has its roots here. I live here. My grandchildren live here and go to local schools. I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to the people in Los Gatos for their support of Domus through everything. They're wonderful customers. It's a special place."
A closing store sale will occur toward the middle or end of the month, Smith said.