In the latest Palo Alto retail news, Pet Food Depot is set to close after 30-plus years, Amity Crossfit opens on California Avenue and Palo Alto's iconic art-supply store, Accent Arts, moves across the street.
DOG EAT DOG WORLD TAKES A TOLL ... Harry Tashjian is a man who knows what he does and does not want. And he doesn't want to own Pet Food Depot anymore. "Enough is enough," he said of his decision to retire. The pet-supply store has been a Palo Alto fixture since 1984. It moved six years ago from its longtime home at 3127 El Camino Real to its current location at 425 Portage Ave. The former El Camino space is now Equinox, a fitness center. The Portage site is an 8,200-square-foot Quonset hut. "We wanted to save a little money," Tashjian said. There's no question the corrugated steel hut is a no-frills venue. But did his customers care? "If they wanted to go to a beauty salon, then they should go to a beauty salon," he said. "All I care about is service, product and price." As a result of the impending closing, all merchandise is reduced 10 to 20 percent. Tashjian does not yet know the exact date of the store closure: "When almost everything is gone -- that's when we'll close." The imminent closure of Pet Food Depot leaves only one pet supply store in Palo Alto: Pet Food Express, located in the Charleston Shopping Center. Pretty surprising in a town that has three dog parks!
AMITY CROSSFIT JOINS CALIFORNIA AVENUE ... Fitness center Amity CrossFit opened Jan. 30 in the former Keeble & Shuchat Photography building at 261 S. California Ave., less than a block from the new Performance Gaines studio. Owner Zach Height, who has operated the center on El Camino Real since 2010, said he needed a bigger space. "I liked the look and feel of the old building -- it had that 'CrossFit' feel, but it didn't have any insulation," Height said. "The new building is definitely an upgrade." Height said he has already seen "tons of foot traffic" going past the center from the Caltrain station. As for being located near Performance Gaines, Height said it's already been beneficial. The owner, who knows Height's business partner, offered Amity the use of Performance Gaines' showers until Amity gets settled in. Height said the two gyms cater to different niches: Amity provides group classes rather than the one-one personal training workouts of Performance Gaines. -- Linda Taaffe
ACCENT ARTS MOVES TO THE ALLEY... Palo Alto's iconic art-supply store, Accent Arts, is leaving its longtime home at 392 California Ave., but it won't be going far. The independently owned retailer is relocating across the street to its longtime storage facility at 421 Jacaranda Lane (just behind ZombieRunner) during the first week in March, according to an email announcement from store management. The California Avenue location is set to close Feb. 25. The shop's impending move has been widely anticipated since late 2015, when owner Gil McMillon announced that rent along California Avenue was becoming too expensive for him, but the store's fate remained uncertain. As part of the move, the business also will be changing its name to Accent Arts in the Alley to commemorate its new location in the one-way alley. "I think this will bring a bit of a Bohemian feel to the area," employee Shirley Hollis said of the new one-story, flat-roofed cinder-block building where the shop plans to operate for now. Hollis said she's unsure if the building will serve as a temporary "pop-up shop" or become a permanent location. In the meantime, Accent Arts is frantically trying to sell as much of its merchandise as possible because it won't all fit into the new building -- which is only about one-third the size of the California site. Store management said it has "lots and lots of things we don't want to move" and is selling merchandise at a 30 percent discount between now and Feb. 25. Hollis said the new location will still provide framing services and a wide selection of art supplies, but many items will have to be custom ordered. -- Linda Taaffe
Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? Daryl Savage will check them out. Email email@example.com.
Associate Editor Linda Taaffe contributed to this column.