Business & Real Estate

Longtime Mountain View plastics store closes its doors

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Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
TAP Plastics’ Mountain View location closed last month after more than 30 years on Castro Street.

For more than three decades, TAP Plastics stood along Castro Street in downtown Mountain View selling a wide variety of plastic products to individuals and businesses alike.

However, the location’s long run came to an end last month. A number of factors led to the store’s closure, from problems with parking to changes in the downtown business climate and increases in rent. The store’s last day was Sept. 14.

“Basically, it reached a point where it wasn’t a good business decision to stay there,” said Bob Wilson, vice president of sales.

TAP Plastics has 18 locations that remain open, spanning California, Oregon and Washington. The nearest locations are in San Jose, San Mateo and Fremont.

The plastics company serves everyone from individuals wanting a custom plastic picture frame to large orders for companies.

“We had a nice mix of different customers,” Wilson said of the Mountain View store’s clientele.

For Steve Hoeser, the Mountain View store had a lot of history. He worked as the manager there from 2001 until 2015, then became regional manager for the South Bay.

“I certainly learned how to be a good manager at that location,” Hoeser said. “I had wonderful employees.”

Over time, though, problems with the location began to emerge. Chief among them, Hoeser said, was the lack of parking. The store had no dedicated parking lot and the alleyway behind the store was frequently blocked by delivery trucks for nearby markets and restaurants.

“Customers felt as if they couldn’t reach us easily,” he said. “And when you’re selling potentially large items, that’s very difficult to counteract.”

There is a multilevel parking structure behind the store, but, as Wilson noted, it isn’t convenient for customers to carry bulky plastic orders up multiple stories. The parking structure also means there is less space for delivery trucks to stop, Hoeser said, which frequently meant the back of TAP Plastics was blocked.

Downtown Mountain View has also changed over the years, with fewer retail shops and more restaurants and technology startups.

“Restaurants came in, which are nice and they’re good, but it didn’t lend (itself) to us,” Wilson said. “People may come to eat, but they weren’t using our business at the same time.”

Over the years, other retail businesses have moved away from Castro Street. Among the changes, Meyer Appliance relocated to a site along El Camino Real and BookBuyers moved to Gilroy.

The rent TAP Plastics paid also increased over time. Part of the cost was because of the size of the space, which Hoeser said was larger than the business required to operate.

According to Wilson, TAP Plastics had a good relationship with the building’s owners, and he understands why costs went up. However, eventually keeping the location open simply didn’t make financial sense.

“It just reached a point where it wasn’t working out for us anymore,” he said. “Sales had to keep up with the changes, the increases, and it just wasn’t there.”

The Mountain View shop’s employees were given the opportunity to stay with the company, and Wilson said some transferred to nearby locations.

For other store locations and more information, visit tapplastics.com.

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