Longtime Malibu business The Vitamin Barn has reopened after completely closing in July.
“It was more sad than I could even imagine,” owner Gene Arnold said of closing his three-decade-old store. “So many people were so upset.” Arnold recounted how “20 people a day came in crying” when his lease was previously too high to keep his business afloat.
“[Customers] were so upset it made me upset,” Arnold described when he closed The Vitamin Barn after 27 years at the Colony Plaza Shopping Center. The health food store owner went on social media and challenged the center’s owner to call him after lease negotiations broke down.
According to Arnold, the Kroenke Group did call him and new terms were put in place for the Malibu favorite to reopen, even after Arnold had sold everything in a going-out-of-business blow out. Now, Arnold credits those final sales and his customers for saving the business.
“People came in and spent money like crazy saying, ‘We love you,’” the business owner recalled. “It’s all due to overwhelming customer support.”
Those funds were used for a remodel.
“The people of Malibu paid for everything from my going-out-of-business sale,” Arnold stated. The businessman now calls it “a people’s store.” He even had to reopen before he was fully stocked due to customers flocking back.
“I’m so blessed to make people happy after making them so sad,” he said. Still, Arnold encouraged customers to support what he called “your store—it’s not even mine anymore” and all local businesses in Malibu saying it’s a difficult time to keep businesses running during COVID.