Chanting “Save Point Pizza,” more than 300 demonstrators on Friday gathered outside Point Pizza Malibu to protest the eatery's expected closing in December due to its lease not being renewed.
The protest came in the wake of a decision by Point Dume Village owner Zan Marquis to replace the business with D’Amore's Famous Pizza once the Point Pizza Malibu lease expires on Dec. 31, 2012. Point Pizza is owned by Hye Song Oh, who released a prepared statement during the protest.
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“I am very thankful and humbled by the overwhelming support the community has shown for us. We as a family are very grateful to have been supported by this wonderful community for 24 years,” Hye Song Oh said.
She said the business has been able to support her as a single mother as has allowed her to care for her parents and put her two daughters through college.
“I have been privileged to see the kids grow up in this community and bring their own children into my store. I do not think this rally represents support just for my shop but for all small businesses in Malibu,” she said.
During the rally, more than 200 pizzas were sold, and 300 were purchased during the entire day, according to an organizer. Many called on Marquis to keep Point Pizza at the Point Dume Village.
Marquis has said he made the decision to bring in D'amore's Pizza, which has another location in Malibu, as part of a move to bring healthier options to the shopping center.
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A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department vehicle showed up at 4:40 p.m. and a sergeant got out and walked into the shopping center's management office. The sergeant said the protesters were allowed to remain at the shopping center as long as they were peaceful.
Among the protesters were Malibu City Council members Skylar Peak, Laura Zahn Rosenthal and John Sibert.
"I'm here to support local businesses," Rosenthal said. "Every time I order pizza, I know the delivery person."
She said she does not support a boycott of the entire center.
"I lament the loss of a funky, great, local place that has been around for a long time," Rosenthal said.
Dru Ann Jacobson walked among the protesters, getting signatures for a petition she plans to present to the Point Dume Village owner. In all, she gathered 270 signatures.
"My kids were all raised here," Jacobson said. "It's sad. It's really, really sad."
Janet Friesen said she has lived in Malibu for only a year, but that her family has "gradually fallen in love with it."
"It's one of the things that brought us here to Malibu ... the small businesses. We want to support local businesses," Friesen said.
Sam McGee, who works for Point Pizza, said he is hopeful it will remain open.
"I've been eating here since I've been able to eat pizza," McGee said.
A second protest is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 19 at 4 p.m. outside of D'amore's Famous Pizza.