Margaret Smith, owner of the flagship Domus store in Los Gatos, said she will close that store and relocate to Pleasanton, reopening the Domus store at 652 Main St. this summer. A smaller Domus store in the Willow Glen section of San Jose will remain open.
When Domus opened its Pleasanton store in September 1998, it was part of the Las Gatos operation. Then Smith sold the Pleasanton business to John Maloney and his wife Cathy, who were allowed to continue using the name. The Maloneys later closed their business to pursue other interests, and the building has been vacant ever since.
Smith said Domus' current lease with the Farwell Family in Los Gatos, which owns the land and the building, expires at the end of April and the renewal rent will be more than double. The store, which has a dozen employees, will close in late May, but the specific date has not been set.
"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 said. "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."
Domus has been a Los Gatos landmark since 1969. Smith purchased the store at 40 N. Santa Cruz Ave. 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," she said.
She said customers come from all over the Bay Area and beyond to shop at the Domus store for kitchenware, home accessories, toys, books, stationery and other items. San Francisco Magazine once described Domus as a unique blend of Williams-Sonoma, Pier 1, Pottery Barn, Papyrus and Crate and Barrel.
The 8,500-square-foot Los Gatos 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.
When it was open for business here, Domus was one of a few retail stores that kept late evening hours in downtown Pleasanton and was a popular after-dinner shopping spot.
"This is exciting news," said Laura Olson, executive director of the Pleasanton Downtown Association. "Having the Domus building occupied with retail will be wonderful for our downtown and will definitely create a lot of buzz!"
Pamela Ott, economic development manager for the city of Pleasanton, has been in the forefront of seeking tenants for the vacant Domus site. She said prospects told her the 11,000-square-foot building was either too big for their small retail businesses or too small for a drug store or fitness center or other possibilities, which also were considered.
"It turns out the best fit for Domus is Domus," she said. "It's great to see them coming back."
Mayor Jennifer Hosterman agreed.
"I'm glad to see Domus reopening its downtown store," she said. "I think this community will be wildly ecstatic!"