A niche shop known for its exotic fish, reptiles and brightly-colored coral will be shutting its doors later this month, ending its decades-long run in the heart of downtown Mountain View.
Seascape, a pet store located on the corner of Castro and Dana streets, has been a hub for reptile and fish enthusiasts, but attracts just about everyone during its evening hours, according to store owner Chloe Mezilis.
"We get everybody here," Mezilis said. "People coming out to dinner, customers from San Jose and San Francisco."
People who step inside Seascape are greeted by Trinity, a tremendous 15-year-old giant gourami that has become the main attraction at the store. The goggle-eyed fish is native to Southeast Asia and has a peculiar diet, eating vegetables and even bananas.
Sylvia Targ, 16, works at Seascape and said the fish is nearly as old as she is. Trinity's story, she said, is that the store wanted to buy 15 1-inch fish, and instead was sent a single 15-inch fish.
In the past, the store has displayed a rotation of rare and exotic fish, and is not shy about tracking down any requested species, Mezilis said. In the past, the store has showcased nautilus, electric eels, octopuses and electric catfish.
While fish are certainly the most prominent pets in the store, Seascape also carries a range of reptiles, including geckos, bearded dragons and snakes, many of them bred in the store.
But now Trinity and the rest of the fish, reptiles and rodents will have to find a new home as the store prepares for its last day on July 24. Mezilis, who has been the owner for 11 years, said she's ready to move on and has been intending to sell the store for quite some time.
She said her goal was to make sure Seascape remains a tropical fish store, and while she found some good potential buyers, they could only afford the business if the rent stayed about the same. After negotiating with her landlord, Mezilis said it was clear the rent would increase by about 40 percent if a new store owner took over the shop.
When Seascape closes, there won't be many local options for reptile and fish enthusiasts. Specialty, independent fish and pet stores like Seascape are hard to come by in the Bay Area, Mezilis said.
"Most small independent fish stores have closed down," she said.
Now, Seascape has a little more than a week remaining to clear out the entire inventory, including all the fish, reptiles, hamsters, rats and dozens of tanks. Any animals that don't find new homes during the closing sale will need to be relocated. Mezilis said she knows people who can take some of the leftover fish and she has the option to donate them, but said she isn't too worried about any fish going homeless.
Part of what gave Seascape its quaint, independent feel is the level of advice and education employees gave customers interested in owning fish and reptiles, she said. Setting up a reptile terrarium or fish tank can be a complex task for exotic pets, Mezilis said, and it was important to make sure customers could set up a good environment. Even after it closes, the Seascape Facebook page encourages customers to continue to send emails with any questions about their aquariums.
"We pride ourselves on taking good care of the animals and our customers being successful in providing the proper care for their animals," she said.
As of this week, most of the reptiles have been cleared out, and many of the tanks have been sold. Mezilis said Trinity and her tank mates, an albino oscar and a catfish, will be heading to their new home in a exotic wildlife sanctuary called Wild Things in the Placer County community of Weimar.