ORCUTT, Calif. - A longtime Orcutt pet store is going out of business.
Fins And Critters, which operates in the Acorn Shopping Plaza at the corner of Clark Ave. and S. Bradley Rd., will close its doors on Feb. 25.
The store has been open in Orcutt for more than 10 years, including the past five at its current location.
Management blames the closure in large part due to an increase in rent. The store's lease expires at the end of the month and the property management company proposed a new agreement with a large rent increase.
The significant increase was too much for the business to remain viable, so the decision was made to shut down.
"Rent has been steadily going up regardless of our lease and while we do have the clientele to support us where we were the amount we have to pay just to stay in this spot is ridiculous," said manager Darlene Athie.
Management also said declining business, particularly due to competition from big box retailer PetSmart in the nearby Crossroads Shopping Center, and the upcoming opening of Petco at Enos Ranch, also played a role in the closure.
"Like most mom-and-pop shops, we are closing," said Athie. "A lot of the big brand box companies are coming in and it just makes it really difficult for us to stay afloat."
The closure of Fins And Critters will be just the latest business to leave the Acorn Plaza, which is managed by M.D. Atkinson Company, Inc. of Bakersfield.
"In the last two years, it's been draining, so the company that owns this complex, they will be out five, now seven slots.," said Athie.
The company declined to comment about this story.
The shopping plaza currently has several stores empty, including several on the southern end of the center, that also houses The Dollar Tree, Orcutt Burgers and 7-Eleven.
According to store management, five employees will lose their job when the business closes down later this month.
"I honestly don't know what I'm going to do with myself after this, so it's kind of interesting," Athie said.