Malibu’s Retail Scene May Be A-Changing

After months of gossip and speculation, the end may be near for two of Malibu’s favorite businesses.

Blame it on increasing rents or on a Malibu community in flux, but what we behold in the Malibu Village, Cross Creek and Colony Plazas seems to be evolving (or devolving, depending your point of view) every day.

It began with local favorite Guido’s Italian restaurant, which was replaced by trendy Soul Cycle fitness and a fancy burger joint. Popular Banana Republic was soon to follow. It is said to be in the midst of being replaced by upscale New York gourmet shop Dean and Deluca. Even posh new shops selling $200 Nikes and high end beachwear haven’t been able to cut it. Colony Cleaners moved next to Marmalade; down the street, Malibu Shaman moved from downstairs to upstairs and back.

Even more changes may be to come. The latest on the chopping block may be two beloved institutions: Malibu Cinemas and, up the road in the Malibu Colony Plaza, the Malibu Newsstand. Both said they will be sticking around at least until the end of 2016 but, after that, there is no guarantee.

“We’re here until at least the end of the year,” Malibu Newsstand owner Nathan Schields said. “From then on, it’s really month to month.”

The stand offers a full array of specialty magazines, foreign press and more. Gracing the racks, you’ll find every kind of motor magazine, cooking mag, surfing title, beauty magazine, news title, glossy foreign fashion layout and all the news that’s fit to print with the New York Times, the Times of London and even The Malibu Times.

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Although the publication business is at an all time low, replaced by iPhones, iPads, and PCs, the Malibu Newsstand has remained a civic staple since it rolled up its gates in 1993.

Scheilds was a student in Pepperdine when he answered a “help wanted” ad for a news assistant and has been there ever since.

Schields says he has witnessed two major shifts — one in print and one in Malibu. 

“Just to give you an example,” he noted, “we used to get 40 to 50 copies of the LA Times a day. Now we get about five.”

As for the demise of mom and pops: “That’s been pretty drastic. There aren’t many of us left anymore.”

What Schields said he may miss most is the sense of community. 

“For years this has been a meeting place for neighbors, but we are going to do our best to keep going,” he said.

Schields has launched a “Go Fund Me” page and is working on a fundraiser at a longtime Mexican restaurant.

The situation is pretty much the same at the Malibu Cinemas. It would seem ironic that a city known as “the film colony of the world” would find itself without a movie theater, but that’s a possibility as well.

The theater’s general manager — Basim Shaktah — said he is in the same boat as the Malibu Newstand. 

“We’re pretty much in the dark. As of now, we really don’t know,” Shaktah said. “Right now, we’ve got till the end of the year and then it’s month to month.” 

There is a spark of hope on the horizon for film fans. 

“You still may have a movie theater; it just might go to another company,” the manager said. 

In the meantime, we’ll have to wait and see.

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