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Huntington Beach Bait Shop May Be Forced Off Pier By City

HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) — Huntington Beach draws close to 4 million visitors a year for its surfing, swimming, and fishing, but a popular bait shop on the pier may have to close up shop.

Marian Johnson and her husband opened Let's Go Fishing 27 years ago, and now she says their lease is up in November and the store might be forced out.

"I've been married 53 years and 27 of those years we've had Let's Go Fishing...I know its a business but it's also part of our family," said Johnson.

Her husband opened the bait shop 27 years ago, and now she and her grandchildren run it.

Their lease is up in November and she fears they may be forced out of their location.

"All three of us will be unemployed. All three in one family who has got a husband who's disabled," Johnson said.

Her 30-year-old grandson, who has worked at the shop since he was 16-years-old, said, "it's going to be heartbreaking" to walk away from everything they've done.

The family thought everything was fine until they received a letter from the city stating the store was not making enough money.

Businesses on the pier share a percentage of their income with the city.

According to Johnson, the neighboring businesses are not on the same boat as her.

"They're renewing their leases, they told me," Johnson said, "Not mine."

The City Manager released a statement saying, "Commercial uses in public spaces should be reviewed regularly to ensure we are meeting current needs and at current fair market values. City staff is currently reviewing different RFP proposals for that location, including Lets Go Fishing's new proposal."

Longtime customers of all ages are not happy that their bait shop might be leaving.

"After 27 years it's just going away? No way. We're going to fight it," said fisher Justin Marciniec.

According to Johnson, the city has told her that her bid is up against two others for the spot on the pier.

"It's not only our livelihood, it's our legacy.  We want to pass it on." said Johnson.

Johnson will find out in August if she's getting a new lease or if it will go to someone else.

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