Rick Reitano says he's had it with Encinitas and has put his reggae store up for sale. His father opened Rainbow Country 21 years ago. Reitano took over the Highway 101 store in '89, when his dad moved to Oregon.
"The streetscape [project] tore up the street and left us in a muddy dirt hole for almost two years," says Reitano. "There was a nice, big leafy green tree out front. They plowed it over and replaced it with a palm tree." Reitano says Rainbow Country is one of the last holdouts of the Encinitas that thrived during the '60s, '70s, and '80s.
"They want nothing but foo-foo shops up here now.... Everything in Encinitas is Nordy-like. This used to be ground zero as an artsy, laid-back, cool surf spot. Now everyone is really anal.... No one gives a rat's ass about the old Encinitas except the surfers, and they are just surfers."
Reitano has a problem with the Downtown Encinitas Merchants Association, which collects mandatory merchant fees and oversees the appearance of downtown.
"They don't like me. Other merchants accept their rip-off fees. I voice my opinions."
Rainbow Country has backed away from selling reggae music and sells mostly incense, jewelry, clothes, and tapestries.
"Until the early '90s, we used to carry a lot of CDs and tapes and vinyl. It's hard to sell CDs and records with the whole download thing."
Reitano says he'll officiate football games after he sells the shop.