Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An Alabasta employee, center, chats with customers last week after co-owners David Wales and John Zanders announced the May 31 closure of their State Street store.
A State Street florist is preparing to bid Los Altos a fond goodbye after a 12-year run downtown.
David Wales, co-owner of Alabasta, The Flower Shop, said he’s closing his doors permanently May 31. Wales noted that he’s shuttering his retail space at 366 State St. after encountering some “legal issues regarding a tax matter we couldn’t overcome.” He politely declined to elaborate further on the problems behind the shop’s closure.
“We’re really upset about it,” said Wales, who co-owns the business with John Zanders. “We tried to do everything we could to stay open.”
Wales, 51, said the decision to close Alabasta wasn’t easy, given that he’s spent nearly half of his life working as a florist – including the past dozen in downtown Los Altos. He added that he’s “still settling into the idea” that his business will be a thing of the past come June 1.
Wales counts numerous repeat customers among his many friends in town and said he’ll miss the atmosphere and the people of Los Altos the most.
“In many ways, we’re fortunate,” said Wales, who discounted his merchandise and fixtures 35 percent through his close at the end of the month. “In this business, you get to know people during their darkest times and their happiest times. You get close to them. … The community has been very, very kind to us.”
Los Altos Chamber of Commerce President Julie Rose said Alabasta’s departure is a loss that will be felt throughout the community. She noted that the shop often donated to several local events and charities without hesitation.
“They donated to everything,” she said. “They’re very present.”
Among other things, Rose added that the business, a chamber member, donates table centerpieces annually for the “State of the Cities” luncheon.
“They’re really going to be missed,” she said. “They’re so unique. They are one of those businesses that make our town unique. They’re a draw – people come to Los Altos because of them. It’s sad to see this happen.”
As for the future, Wales said he hasn’t had much time to ponder life without Alabasta. He added that while he hasn’t given up on the idea of one day returning to Los Altos as a retailer, he is currently focused on closing as smoothly as possible.
“It’s a lot of work dissolving 12 years,” he noted, adding that he anticipates taking time off this summer to “relax a little bit and reflect on life.”
For now, Wales said he’s trying to move forward into an uncertain future while mustering a positive outlook.
“I try to think that every time a door closes, a window opens,” he said. “Who knows? Maybe something better will happen.”
For more information, visit www.alabastatheflowershop.com.