Several retail stores close at Malibu Country Mart

No owners would go on record as to why they closed or moved their businesses from the shopping plaza.

By Jonathan Friedman / Assistant Editor

More changes are coming to the Malibu Country Mart, with certain tenants leaving and new businesses replacing them. Also, in the nearby Cross Creek Plaza, some of the businesses that were destroyed in last year’s fire are expected to reopen this month, while others could be ready for customers later in the summer.

Cosentino’s Country Mart, the florist shop, closed its doors last week. The space will be replaced by a Ralph Lauren store.

Malibu Country Mart head Michael Koss said he offered to build the Cosentino family a new facility that would be smaller, but the rent would be cheaper. He said they declined the offer.

No one from the Cosentino family, which owns two other florist shops in Malibu, would comment on the reason for the closing of the facility.


When asked why he wanted to replace Cosentino’s with Ralph Lauren, Koss said, “It’s a good tenant and they are going to pay me a good rent. If you have a chance to lease to good stores, it is something you do.”

Koss added that residents benefit from businesses like Ralph Lauren moving to Malibu because “high-end, high-quality retail is what enhances, more than anything else, property values.”

A new building is being constructed for Ralph Lauren, and Koss said he expects the new tenant to be open for business by the end of the year.

Under G’s Lingerie has also left Malibu Country Mart and Leather Waves, a leather clothing store that has been a tenant since 1975, will be moving to Corral Canyon at the end of the month.

Under G’s officials could not be reached for comment and Leather Waves owner Jackie Robbins said she did not want to be interviewed.

Koss said the space used by the two businesses would be combined into one, with a family-owned shoe store, Canvass, moving in.

Tops Gallery Malibu has been put on a month-to-month lease with an option that the business can leave or Koss can tell the owners to leave with a 90-day notice. But Koss said he does not believe either of those scenarios will happen anytime soon.

“I’m happy with Tops and I’m satisfied with it,” Koss said. “I’m not talking to any other businesses about moving there.”

Four years ago, changes at the Malibu Country Mart took place when rents were raised. The Bernie Safire hair salon halved its space, as did the sandwich sh op, John’s Garden.

The owners of John’s Garden had considered closing their shop then, but then a deal with Koss Real Estate Investments was worked out to keep them open, one of which was to reduce their space by almost 50 percent. Several stores expanded their size then as well.

Cross Creek Plaza to be reborn

More than a year after several Cross Creek Plaza businesses were destroyed in an electrical fire, at least one of them could be reopening this month. Fast Frame owner Chris Cavette said the store could be ready for customers within two weeks, but definitely by the end of the month.

The fire that erupted April 17, 2005, destroyed nearly a third of Malibu’s Cross Creek Plaza as well as six vehicles. Fire officials said it was started by an electrical malfunction in the building housing the businesses.

Since the fire, Cavette has had business interruption insurance to compensate for some of the financial hit of having his store closed.

But he said that does not make up for all of it.

“This would have been my biggest year,” Cavette said. “I’ve just built the business up for seven years and I was getting more clients.”

Cavette said he has spent his time working with owners of other Fast Frame franchises. He has been in constant contact with most of his clients, and he said he expects that many of them will return once he reopens the store.

Simon Schreier, the contractor working on the reconstruction of Cross Creek Plaza, said he expects Bay Cities Beauty Supply to be ready to reopen this month.

A call to the company’s Santa Monica location was not returned.

Schreier added that the Casa Escobar restaurant and Ben & Jerry’s could be ready to reopen next month. He said Malibu Eye Center is a little behind schedule, because reconstruction began there later than it did for the other businesses.

Schreier said he did not know when the New Malibu Theater could reopen because a major remodel is being proposed and the plans are still before the city for permit approval.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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