Ask any Mill Valley resident who Larry “the Hat” Lautzker and so they’ll inform you he’s a retailer proprietor, neighborhood organizer, artist, native historian and pal, however above all he cares deeply for the neighborhood he’s referred to as residence for 30 years.
Like many retail outlets throughout Marin, Lautzker’s earnings from Famous4, a boutique he owns, has dried up as a result of pandemic shutdown, which has dragged on seven months.
“I haven’t been in a position to pay all of my lease,” he stated in a post on-line. “They’re asking greater than I can afford presently — I’ve been served with an eviction discover.”
A GoFundMe web site has been set as much as assist the service provider, who owns one of many longest-running companies within the metropolis, in line with the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Lautzker, who stated he would keep open whereas negotiating with the owner, declined to debate the talks. Property proprietor Keegan & Coppin Co. Inc., a industrial actual property firm with an workplace in Larkspur, didn’t reply to request for remark.
Regardless of the final result, Lautzker stated Mill Valley will all the time be his residence.
“Mill Valley saved my life,” he stated, saying town positioned him on a path to 31 years of sobriety. “My life actually blossomed once I moved downtown and as soon as I used to be in a position to get rather more concerned in politics and neighborhood occasions.”
Lautzker has had a hand in the whole lot, it will appear. Neighborhood occasions such because the Memorial Day parade, the Mill Valley Movie Competition, an annual block occasion downtown and the after-parade occasion to fund Kiddo, the Mill Valley Faculties Neighborhood Basis, as only a few of his ardour tasks.
He helped set up Tuesday evening comedy occasions and promoted musical occasions on the Sweetwater. He was awarded a Milley award in 2018 for artistic contributions to the neighborhood. He has raised funds for breast most cancers analysis, Northern California wildfire victims and Hurricane Katrina survivors.
“Larry is a part of the center of Mill Valley,” Mayor Sashi McEntee stated. “He’s somebody who I flip to for historic data. He’s somebody who actually represents all of Mill Valley’s nice qualities of neighborhood — celebrating the fantastic thing about our metropolis, collegiality and love.”
“He represents all that,” she stated. “He’s simply all coronary heart.”
Lautzker and his store are a part of the center of town, and shedding any store offers a blow to its retail panorama, stated Jim Welte of the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Welte stated Lautzker just isn’t the one tenant going by way of unsure instances, as negotiations between landlords and tenants proceed.
“Clearly, everyone seems to be on the sting. Everyone seems to be struggling and dealing as exhausting as they presumably can to maximise each day,” Welte stated. “To the very best of our data, the closures we’ve seen occur to this point haven’t been straight correlated between the lack to come back to an settlement with the owner. The closures we’ve seen have been everywhere.”
Retailers which have closed in the course of the shutdown embrace clothes retailer Paula James, which went out of enterprise in August, the George Lawson artwork gallery and some sole proprietors who labored out of small places of work, Welte stated. Retail, gyms and salons have been among the many hardest hit.
“Now we have a protracted winter forward of us and nobody is aware of what the highway forward holds,” Welte stated. “I do know everyone seems to be tremendous laser targeted to do what they’ll do to maximise house inside and outdoors and get by way of what’s going to be a protracted winter.”
Welte stated the chamber has raised almost $100,000 to supply one-time money grants of $1,000 to companies in want. He stated 100 grants had been issued on a first-come, first-served foundation, including that a whole lot had been obtained and never all purposes may very well be fulfilled.
The county getting into the state’s “tier 2” standing provides a glimmer of hope that the downtown financial system will bounce again because the county slowly eases well being restrictions, though an eviction moratorium for industrial tenants enacted in Might has not been prolonged, Welte stated.
Incoming county supervisor and former Mill Valley mayor Stephanie Moulton-Peters stated Lautzker is a part of the material of downtown. Dropping his store could be a blow, she stated.
“You may’t miss Larry in his hat,” she stated. “Notably on the Memorial Day parade he has generously hosted for a lot of, a few years. Larry is a standout … his enterprise has been a cornerstone in Mill Valley for a few years. It closing could be a loss to our neighborhood.”