Local business owner relies on tourism dollars from STR’s

 In Our stories

My name is Matt Gardner and I am the Owner of Cheap Rentals. I started working at Cheap Rentals right out of high school when my uncle owned the business. I worked there until 2007 when I took the business over after my uncle decided to retire. I built the business up from there with an additional store location in Belmont Park as well as a big increase in our menu and service offering. We went from only myself as the employee running the business as owner operated only to having over 20 employees, many of which live in Mission Beach themselves.

I have also been a resident for over 12 years in Mission Beach, I am a board member of the Mission Beach Town Council and I stay very active in the community. I have a deep sense of pride in welcoming the visitors to San Diego. Both visitors and locals alike come to the beach from all walks of life and depend upon a fun and relaxing experience to recharge their batteries in life. Life long memories are made with their most beloved friends and family and we get the distinct joy of enhancing and guiding that experience.

We don’t just rent gear but we act as a sort of welcoming committee helping people make the most of their time at the beach in San Diego.

I have polled our customers for several years in a row and at least 60% of our overall customer base comes from Short Term Rentals. This has been the case for decades for our business. We often get families who stay at the same vacation rental year after year as a tradition and I have even witnessed children grow into adults and become customers with families of their own.

If the recent city council vote takes effect I can conservatively estimate that I will lose at least 40% of my revenue. This takes into account the remaining Short Term Rentals that might still exist under the new rules and the slight increase in occupancy that the hotels might enjoy over their already high occupancy rates.

My entire business would very easily be lost or at best, I would have to fire my entire staff of 20+ people and incur a reduction in my own income.

We charge a very reasonable rate for our rentals and as such do not have a very large profit margin. I cannot stay in business with such a vast reduction in sales. My entire business would very easily be lost or at best, I would have to fire my entire staff of 20+ people and incur a reduction in my own income. This does not even leave me the option to sell my business as it would be worthless after such a change, especially after all the work in growth that I have put into it.

My wife and I have a 14 month old daughter and have recently, and finally, purchased a house for ourselves to meet the needs of a growing family. Now the livelihood of my family and our future is threatened with such a change and I cannot weather even one year on a trial basis, even if it only has half of the expected negative outcome.

The whole of Mission Beach itself was built as a tourism hub and that on the back of Short Term Rentals. This precedence goes back 100 years and rental businesses like mine are called for specifically in the local planned district ordinance as well as Short Term Rentals as we work so well together. The business community as a whole relies on the seasonality and influx of tourism that Short Term Rentals brings and we would all suffer to varying degrees should this take effect. Several businesses would be forced to shut down and their staff be let go.

I love our city dearly and am here to stay. I fell in love with our beaches especially and we should not hoard this treasure. Our beaches are to be shared with the world as many people from all over the globe make their way here to enjoy them. This sense of “Locals Only” has got to stop and we need to find smart solutions to meet the needs of the residents and visitors together.

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