Cardiff hippie shop readies for fade-out

Shopping center rent spike could threaten VG's, the Office, and barber

Darreld Kitaen
  • Darreld Kitaen

A self-described “hippie shop” that's been around for 37 years will be closing next April. Cardiff by the Sea’s Good Morning store is being forced out because of a tripling in rent.

Owner Darreld Kitaen, 80, has been selling “treasures” — walls covered with cards, jewelry, trinkets, incense, and, as he proudly says, “over 800 trolls.”

Kitaen said his lease expired eight years ago for his 360-square-foot shop, but he’s always been able to negotiate his month-to-month rent with the center’s manager. He now pays $1000 a month, including his "triple net" costs (extra fees paid for maintenance, taxes, and new improvements).

“I knew when this new guy bought the center he was going to want to upgrade. We’re the last shopping center with a view of the ocean,” said Kitaen. With new façade improvements being planned, the new landlord, who lives out of the country, is now asking for $3000 a month for a five-year lease.

On the corner of Aberdeen Drive and San Elijo Avenue, the opening of Best Pizza and Brew added a modern designed façade for its restaurant, contrasting with the rest of the center’s 1970s-styled, beachy blue aluminum overhang.

Recent high rent increases have already hit three of the center’s shops: VG’s Donuts, Cardiff Office bar, and Cardiff by the Sea Barber Shop, as the owner plans to continue the pizza place’s façade design throughout the center, according to Kitaen. “So far I think they are all going to try to stay.”

Angela, a first-time customer from Carlsbad, had heard about Good Morning for a long time. “I could spend the whole day in here,” she said. “Otherwise I feel like I might miss something.”

“I don’t know what I’m going to do after we close,” said Kitaen. “I have to keep working.”

Does he mind being known as a hippie shop? “Not at all. I was one,” said Kitaen.

Six years ago, a customer made a video, answering the often-asked question: why is there glitter all over the floor?

Why is there glitter all over the floor?

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Yes that really is an "Outsiders perspective." We who grew up here like it this way, and suggest you who want to change it, go back home. Please, we don't need you.

Those who want to change it have the means too ($$$). I like things how they are for the most part, but that doesn't keep anyone from changing it.

Dear developers, You have no soul, so quit trying to buy ours and decorate it with all the crap you bring from your inland hellholes. Stay home. We, the locals, appreciate your non patronage.

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