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Three Years Later, Venice Watches Pinkberry Leave

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Pinkberry is leaving Abbot Kinney! Pinkberry is leaving Abbot Kinney! Yo Venice first reported the news, confirmed today by Bruce Wisnicki, the building’s owner. “They are leaving because they were underperforming,” Wisnicki tells us. “They want to make money.” Pinkberry’s departure is notable because anyone familiar with this store will remember the insane controversy that blew up when the yogurt franchise opened here back in 2007. Given that it was the first chain store to enter Abbot Kinney Blvd, people feared Subways and Jamba Juices would follow. And yes, there was backlash. “Venice never embraced Pinkberry,” says Wisnicki, who says the store received most of its business from tourists and weekend visitors. “There was a portion of the community that wouldn’t go there.” Pinkberry didn't immediately return calls. But it also recently closed its West Hollywood store, so it's hard to know if locals' resistance really did help slow down sales. Or perhaps the Pinkberry trend has peaked, gone the way of aerobics and rollerblades?

Melissa Bechtel, a member of Venice Unchained, the group dedicated to keeping large-scale chains stores off Abbot Kinney, and formed in response to Pinkberry's arrival, says there's some validation to seeing the store leave. She also says the shop is welcome to open elsewhere in Venice. For those unfamiliar with Venice Unchained, the group wants to keep out chains to encourage local businesses and keep the character of the area.

And even though Abbot Kinney now has some very expensive stores ("I heard a resident say it's now unshoppable for Venetians," admits Bechtel), keeping out bigger chains can keep rents down. Here are some comparisons on where commercial rents are headed along Abbot Kinney: When Pinkberry moved in to the area in 2007, it was paying $6 a square foot in rent, which outraged some people used to seeing $4.50 a square foot along Abbot Kinney. Today, Pinkberry is paying $7.50 a square foot, according to Wisnicki. He says a mother and daughter-run clothing store will replace Pinkberry.
· Venice Unchained [Official Site]
· Pinkberry Abbot Kinney to Shutter [Yo Venice]