An eight-unit, three-story, residential, and commercial development in Leucadia will soon replace two businesses and a home, including North County Equipment, one of the last North County small-machine repair shops.
The shop’s manager, Shane, says he understands they have until around February to close or find another location. “With zoning, I don’t know if the owner can move,” he said. It isn’t for lack of business, Shane says. Repairs — mostly for landscaping companies — are backed up for a week.
The 20-year-old shop sells and services gas-powered lawn mowers, chainsaws, and edgers. “We have a lot of homeowners that use us, too,” said Shane as a customer walked in with his non-functioning chainsaw.
“I don’t know where I’d go if they closed,” the customer said.
Shane pointed out that no one services electrical tools anymore. (The last San Diego County electrical tool service center closed in 2014.)
Electric tools have a life expectancy of only two to three years. Companies don’t make extra parts for them other than batteries. If still under warranty, it’s cheaper for the company to just replace the unit rather than maintain a complete parts inventory. “I have every part for every item we sell,” said Shane.
The building was once a gas station along a busy Old Highway 101 corridor, until I-5 opened in 1965, and killed all of the area’s stations. “Our shop building was actually a bar at one time. You can still read some of the customer’s names written on the concrete floor,” said Shane.
Should North County Equipment exit permanently, that leaves only three other shops in North County that service landscaping machines and equipment: Cutter’s Source in Oceanside, and Lawn Mower Plus and Harrison’s Equipment in San Marcos.
The Encinitas City Council approved the mixed-use condo project, to be known as the Beacons, on November 9. After an hour of public testimony, most in opposition, opponents claimed the three-story building is not aligned with the character of Leucadia. “Too much glass and steel,” said one resident to the council.
After the council meeting, the residents met outside the chambers to commiserate. “As usual [the city council] went for the businesses once again,” said resident Mikayla McFadden.
Another resident said that two days before the meeting, he was standing on street corners holding campaign signs for some of the councilmembers who had won reelection on November 8. “Now I’m fucked,” he said, of the council’s 4-0 vote.