SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A young entrepreneur and college student opened her own clothing store in Downtown Santa Barbara this weekend.
Athena Wang created the fashion brand Watermelon Apparel last year to promote body positivity.
Her line sells cozy comfort clothes like oversized T-shirts and sweatshirts.
After her online sales took off, the 20-year-old decided to open her own storefront this summer at the Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center.
“I just really want to create this community of gathering again through my shop, and then just like girls are hanging out here, we serve sparkling water around and we want to create this sense of community, use this store as a platform,” said Wang.
Wang runs the store with four other UCSB students.
To celebrate its opening weekend, Wang said the first 50 customers to come to her store will receive a 25% discount on their items.
Watermelon Apparel is located at 317 Paseo Nuevo in Santa Barbara and is open every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can shop online at www.watermelon-apparel.com.
SB Sweets brings pancakes, crepes and more to Paseo Nuevo mall, and Seaside Makers Collective is set to open on State Street in July
One of Santa Barbara’s iconic restaurants is going coastal.
Jeannine’s Restaurant & Bakery is opening on the corner of Cabrillo Boulevard and State Street.
“We feel honored to be here,” owner Alison Hardey said. “Stearns Wharf, this is the apex of Santa Barbara. For us, this is the entry into Santa Barbara.”
The spot is the former site of Eladios and most recently Due Lune, and is next to the Harbor View Inn. With windows as walls facing the ocean, the corner restaurant features one of the best views for a Santa Barbara eatery.
It will be its fourth spot. It will join the other Jeannine’s sites in Goleta, outer State Street in Santa Barbara, and on Coast Village Road.
Hardey a few months ago closed her Figueroa Street location, but said she is ecstatic about the new digs. It could have been another corporate chain, but Hardey said a local family would serve the public better.
“To be a local company that has been here over 35 years, and to be associated with the Romasanta family, who have also been here and built this,” Hardey said.
The Romasanta family owns the Harbor View Inn and the restaurant site.
“Their whole business is family-run,” Hardey said. “Ours is family-run. We feel like we are representing Santa Barbara. It is not a Starbucks, and it could’ve been. We really see it as an opportunity to be an ambassador to our community.”
The menu will be the same. At some point, Hardey said, she hopes to open a sophisticated bar in the evening, with curated drinks.
“We envision leather couches, and just this lovely place to sit and chill, not the hustle-and-bustle of our fast-paced lives,” Hardey said.
All of the baking eventually will be done from the new site.
“We see this as our marquee store,” Hardey said. “We’re all-hands-on-deck, we’re all-in, and we’re super excited.”
Hardey said she looked at the space years ago, but it wasn’t available.
Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hardey said she knows that it will take work to get it off the ground.
“It all happened very fast, but this is the kind of thing we live for, the opportunity,” Hardey said. “We waited and waited and something fell onto our lap, and we’re gonna take it and do the best we can.”
She said she hopes to open on July 1.
“We hope to be an addition to this corner and make Santa Barbarans proud that we are here,” Hardey said.
SB Sweets Comes to Paseo Nuevo
A new business has opened at the Paseo Nuevo mall in Santa Barbara.
SB Sweets, 313 Paseo Nuevo, opened a week ago and features mini-pancakes and crepes.
The shop is the brainchild of Maria Elena Plascencia, a local entrepreneur who is known for her mini-pancakes and crepes, along with dozens of toppings and crazy combinations that her fans have come to love. She also offers platters for parties and events.
“We are noticing a big interest in local businesses ready to ‘get back to business’ with COVID restrictions lifting, people starting to get out more and visitors returning to Santa Barbara,” said Mary Lynn Harms-Romo, marketing manager for Paseo Nuevo.
Seaside Makers Collective Opening on State Street
Seaside Makers Collective is expected to open at 727 State St. in July.
Kristin Fraser has been operating the unique boutique in two locations, Carpinteria and Santa Barbara, for more than a decade.
The store has a loyal following in part because of The Grapeseed Co.’s vinotherapy products for skin, hair and body, Harms-Romo of Paseo Nuevo said.
The Grapeseed Co. has grown to create more than 100 vinotherapy skin, hair, and bath and body products utilizing fresh, local ingredients and is known for a custom scent bar and niche in the beauty industry. Grapeseed products are distributed to some of the most exclusive spas and resorts around the world, as well as hundreds of specialty shops, wineries and select retailers, according to its website.
Grapeseed products are distributed to some of the most exclusive spas and resorts around the world, as well as hundreds of specialty shops, wineries and select retailers, according to its website.
Adriana Arriaga and Claudia Borfiga Unveil Mural at Paseo Nuevo
By Charles Donelan
Tue May 04, 2021 | 10:09am
The Community Environmental Council’s annual Earth Day celebration took a double hit from the coronavirus pandemic, with the 2020 and 2021 events both moving from the festive Sunken Gardens of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse to the virtual world of livestreaming. Looking for a way to preserve some of the missing pageantry associated with the festival, this year the CEC teamed up with the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, the Arts Fund, Paseo Nuevo, and Santa Barbara BCycle to sponsor a 60-foot mural on the Paseo Nuevo Arts Terrace Parking Deck. A panel of judges, one from each organization plus two additional community members, Maria Rendón and Arturo Heredia Soto, came together and selected “Nurture Our Mother,’ by Adriana Arriaga and Claudia Borfiga as the winning proposal from 27 entries.
Responding to a call for entries that reflected this year’s Earth Day theme of climate leadership, Arriaga and Borfiga proposed a brightly colored horizontal grid containing twelve images of nature that people would recognize and appreciate as indigenous to Santa Barbara. From monarch butterflies to a mushroom, a hummingbird, and an ear of corn, these icons of the 805 biota indicate not just the vitality of our region, but also the interconnectedness and unity of its ecosystem. In the mural’s largest panel, keeping watch over everything, there’s one of Arriaga’s instantly recognizable madres, the pop art versions of traditional votive images that this Xicana artist has made her signature trope.
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Coming from different backgrounds has not stopped these artists from finding common ground in their passion for public art. Since moving to Santa Barbara from Great Britain several years ago, Claudia Borfiga has proven to be one of the city’s most thoughtful and productive creators in the emerging field of social practice art. In this medium, which is sometimes referred to as relational aesthetics, the emphasis is on the interaction between the audience, the artwork, and the social systems within which the event takes place. Whether she’s working with the Print Power group she founded in 2018 to create grants-funded screen-printing workshops as a means to explore trauma or holding a popup show in the Funk Zone to remind us all that sometimes people just get sad, Borfiga radiates a rare combination of intelligence, ingenuity, and empathy.
Coming out of the MFA program at UC Davis, Adriana Arriaga knew what she wanted to do with her graduate degree in design. Since returning to Santa Barbara, where she grew up and attended SBCC, she has turned her eye toward the possibilities available for art that proceeds from a solid foundation in activism. With this new, high-profile project, she can expect to gain further attention in the art world while her 21st-century Xicana feminist imagery enters into the public art history of her hometown.
What makes this collaboration special, in addition to the evident skill and creativity that went into the work, is the degree to which these artists share a common goal of bringing all people into a deeper understanding of the obligation we have to serve the planet we have been given to protect. As Borfiga told me one afternoon while taking a break from riding the lift to complete the painting, “Whatever we do to the earth at this time we’re going to pass on to the next generation. If we make a mess of it, we are going to have nothing left to give them.” Fortunately, now we have been given this beautiful and inspiring work to remind us of that every time we see it.
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A large local Earth Day nod to Mother Nature will be revealed Saturday at the Paseo Nuevo Mall.
A large-scale mural, entitled “Nurture our Mother”, is going up on a wall at the top parking level.
The community based effort highlights the talents of local artists Adriana Arriaga and Claudia Borfiga.
Borfiga tells NewsChannel 3 that the mural is a celebration of natural treasures and resources. found locally and throughout our planet.
“We also kinda wanted to emphasize how we’re part of that ecosystem and how kind of our human importance and the role we play and how we’re taking too much of that resource and how we can better care for our earth,” Borfiga said.
The full reveal of the mural takes place Saturday at 4 p.m. via livestream.
Movie theaters return; Matty’s Hot Chicken plans a pop-up; IHOP is moving to Goleta; and Santa Barbara’s transient occupancy taxes are down 39%
Sara Gehris has opened the Santa Barbara Urban Flea Market for vendors of vintage items.
Longtime entrepreneur Sara Gehris still packs a punch.
Her latest endeavor opened a few days ago downtown — the Santa Barbara Urban Flea Market. It’s a home for vendors of vintage items, including jackets, T-shirts, records, furnishings and countless other eclectic items.
“I just kind of wanted to have a platform for them to be able to sell their merchandise,” Gehris said. “It’s kind of like their own little business within a business.”
She said there’s a community of dealers looking for a spot to sell their items after getting displaced from the COVID-19 pandemic. Gehris said there’s strength in numbers, and everyone coming together can share a space that’s affordable yet high quality.
The shop, at 729 State St., once housed Pascucci Restaurant, which since has moved to the 500 block. Gehris, an interior designer, painted some of the walls and the floor to give the store its own vintage vibe.
“We really have something for all ages and all prices,” she said, adding from $1 to $1,000. “Everybody is so excited about it.”
About 20 vendors share the space.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity, just to bring business back to State Street,” Gehris said.
She used to own vintage store Punch, also on State Street. She sold it in 2015. Before that, she was also a dealer. At one point, she bought a shuttle bus and turned it into a shop in the Funk Zone.
“I really wanted to do a collective again,” she said. “I am just really good with spaces and turning it into a cool vibe.”
She said she eventually plans to hold pop-up bars once a month so people can enjoy beer and wine.
“I just love creating an interesting space,” she said. “Every little thing here has its own personality and its own story behind it.”
By Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @JECMolina
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – New life is coming to Downtown Santa Barbara. More businesses are starting to move in and open, filling the downtown vacancies.
“This just came at the right time. The price was right. It was just such a good opportunity that I just couldn’t pass it up, so we’re really excited about it,” said Sara Gehris, owner of SB Urban Flea Market.
Gehris expects to open her market next month, taking the old home of Pascucci Restaurant.
“It’s going to be a vintage, just a flea market, very eclectic. I have over 18 dealers in here. I’m going to have some artisans, most of them are local,” Gehris said.
SB Urban Flea Market is joining businesses like M Special and Tondi Gelato which also recently opened on State Street.
Downtown Santa Barbara attributes this success to the State Street promenade—which will remain for at least another year.
“I think it’s tripled traffic. Like I haven’t seen State Street this busy in probably five years,” said Gehris. “On the weekends it’s so packed it looks like a street city in New York. It’s going to be really good.”
The downtown area is also expecting a new Gastropub to move into the former Starbucks location on the corner of State Street and De La Guerra. They say the speed at which the spot found a new tenant, from one business closing to another opening, is an optimistic sign for State Street.
“I think shows a lot of promise for downtown. I think people are excited about the future. They are ready to get out of this pandemic, and they’re seeing opportunities downtown, and we’re very excited about that,” said Robin Elander, executive director for Downtown Santa Barbara.
The downtown area said it’s continuing to recruit more businesses to move in soon.
Hayes Commercial Group says owners are looking for tenants in 20,000-to-40,000-square-foot office spaces on top floors
The former Macy’s building in downtown Santa Barbara will be transformed into office space, the Hayes Commercial Group announced Monday.
Located at 701 State St., the 132,500-square-foot building in the Paseo Nuevo shopping mall will feature the “largest office floor plates” in Santa Barbara’s downtown, with more than 40,000 square feet on each level and half-floor suites in the 20,000 square feet range, according to Hayes.
“Frankly, there aren’t a lot of tenants in our area looking for 20,000 or 40,000 square feet of office,” Francois DeJohn of Hayes Commercial Group said in a statement. “So we are marketing to companies in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, and beyond to consider adding an office location in Santa Barbara.”
The ground floor of the three-story building is being marketed to retail, restaurant and grocery tenants, Hayes Commercial Group said, and the building is expected to accommodate a mix of commercial uses.
Pacific Retail’s architects determined that the structure is not suitable to convert into apartments or condos, according to Hayes Commercial Group, which will be marketing the office spaces.
“Office is the ‘highest and best use’ for the building, especially the upper two floors,” Greg Bartholomew of Hayes said in a statement. “State Street has more than enough retail space already, and bringing potentially hundreds of office workers to this location every day would help vitalize the area.”
He added: “Downtown Santa Barbara has become a focal point for tech tenants during the past 10 years. With companies like Amazon, Honey, Sonos and Invoca leasing large office spaces along the State Street corridor.”
Hollister has opened along State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, replacing Abercrombie & Fitch. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
Santa Barbara’s downtown is getting younger.
Abercrombie & Fitch, the well-branded clothing retailer that closed its doors in January, has opened a sibling store. It’s intended to attract even younger shoppers than the teens and twentysomethings who frequented Abercrombie & Fitch.
Hollister, at 721 State St., focuses on the “carefree spirit of the endless California summer for the teen market.”
It’s target demographic is the 15-to-19 age group.
“It fills a niche in downtown Santa Barbara for this customer who makes up approximately 22% of our demographic,” said Mary Lynn Harms-Romo, marketing manager for Paseo Nuevo mall. “We are encouraged that Abercrombie has made the decision to meet the needs of the market as retail is everchanging and retailers who are committed to evolving will continue to succeed.”
The store sells a variety of jeans, tops, dresses, sleepwear and jackets as well as three types of “skinny” jeans, including “exteme skinny,” “super skinny” and just plain “skinny.”
Santa Barbara native Kathy Rodriguez plans to open XO Aesthetics in Santa Barbara around April 1.
The shop at 3455 State St., Suite 6, will specialize in personal care services, such as eyebrow microblading, lip blushing, teeth whitening, and face and body treatments. Rodriguez decided during the COVID-19 pandemic that it was time to start her own business.
“I started realizing that I wanted to pursue something where I was going to be independent,” she said, “or do something where I would not have to work under somebody, and do something for myself.”
The company uses pigments to create semi-permanent makeup products that can last between 18 months and several years. The treatment is popular in Los Angeles.
Something’s Definitely Fishy
Hibachi Steak House & Sushi Bar at 502 State St. in Santa Barbara appears to have temporarily closed. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
The restaurant at 502 State St. was dark all week, with the doors closed and no one on the inside.
Calls and efforts to reach the restaurant through social media were unsuccessful.
Yelp states that the restaurant is temporarily closed until April 22, 2022.
Although most of the other restaurants on the 500 block of State Street seemed to have enjoyed the benefit of outdoor dining, the Hibachi Steak House & Sushi Bar, known for its grilling in the middle of the restaurant for all to see, apparently has not fared as well.
The company, 4141 State St., Suite C3, provides films for windows from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles.
Ponder will work as the director of sales.
He previously worked at Kinkos in 1992 as a color specialist before becoming operations manager. He left Kinkos in 2004 to be the chief operations officer at CyberCopy, a market leader in construction printing and graphics services for architects, engineers and contractors. He became vice president of sales and marketing in 2008.
CalCoast Glass Tinting Inc. is the Premier 3M Dealer and a leader in glass treatment films with its expertise, customer service and high-quality workmanship, according to a news release.
By Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @JECMolina
Makers and Wares Market hosted 59 women-led booths at Paseo Nuevo in celebration of International Women’s Day (which is today). The event, presented by Blissful Boutiques and Women’s Economic Ventures, was free for the entrepreneurs.
Lisa Green, president and CEO of the Makers and Wares Market, wanted to make the day free as a gift to vendors and shoppers.
“Everybody’s been suffering this whole year with COVID. And I figured, International Women’s Day — let’s do something to just get the community together and bring them out,” she told the News-Press.
She saw the holiday as a good way to honor women who might be struggling during the pandemic.
“I think the women, in my opinion, were hit the hardest. Because they have to be mom; they have to be teachers; they have to get home with the kids, etc. So that was part of the other reason why it’s doing this and offering it free to the vendors,” she said.
Ms. Green, an entrepreneur herself, has presided over the market for nearly five years and just recently opened the market to include non-handmade items.
“A small business that wants to get up off their feet and they can’t afford to rent a brick-and-mortar storefront — we want to be able to give them a chance. We want to be able to take care of everybody,” she said.
The market, which is located beside State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, allows vendors from surrounding cities to participate. (Some local markets only allow Santa Barbara residents to join.)
Denise Zenteno of Rain Frog Woodworking heard about the market from friends in Santa Ynez Valley Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS). Some of the moms had small businesses and were planning to represent Santa Ynez Sunday.
Sunday was Ms. Zenteno’s fourth time selling at a market, and first time in Santa Barbara.
She began woodworking six months ago when she saw a lathe among the tools her husband keeps in the garage.
She describes discovering woodworking as falling in love. Her father was an architect and used woodwork in his designs, so the trade resonated with her.
Her display of pens, cooking utensils and bowls look as though she’s been making them for years.
“As an engineer, I’ve always worked with my hands, so it wasn’t a hard transition,” she explained.
She was an engineer for seven years before immigrating to the U.S. and starting a family with her husband.
She has many hobbies and likes to try new projects (which is why she browsed the tools in the garage), but she had never sold her work.
Ms. Zenteno started woodworking to make Christmas gifts, and her friends and family insisted she sell some of her creations. She had a large inventory already and decided to give it a try while she stays home with her child.
Paula Fell, an artist in Ojai, started selling mosaics and fused glass pieces after she retired three years ago. She always desired to become an artist upon retirement.
She has sold her mosaics in art exhibitions and decided to try the market when her neighbor Jen Grasmere told her about it.
“I think [Ms. Green] is really trying to help women artists and women with the cottage industries,” Ms. Fell said. “I think that’s really important during COVID that they have a platform to be able to share their work.”
Ms. Grasmere, a silver and turquoise jewelry artist, was grateful the market was a free opportunity.
“I think women need to help each other and encourage each other. We need each other in this world,” she said.
Her jewelry became her profession five years ago, which was an intimidating transition. She previously gave everything away.
“As an artist, you have got to get over your shame,” she said. “Because you put your stuff out there and you have a shame attack like, ‘Oh, no one’s gonna like that.’ But then you make a sale and then you get used to putting your stuff out there.”
She still worries about hitting the perfect price to get more sales and pay for her handiwork. But she says her husband is a good support.
Festive activities offer residents opportunities to celebrate while supporting local businesses and organizations struggling because of the coronavirus
Editor’s note: Some events may be affected by the stay-at-home order that started on Monday.
The holiday season, normally filled with festive parades, family gatherings and celebrations of cheer, will no doubt be disrupted this year by the coronavirus pandemic.
However, businesses and organizations across Santa Barbara County have stepped up to create events and activities that follow COVID-19 guidelines and offer holiday cheer.
“More than ever, it’s critical that locals show support for our friends, loved ones, and neighbors who are employed by our area businesses and attractions,” said Kathy Janega-Dykes, president and CEO of Visit Santa Barbara. “Shopping local, dining out and partaking in social distant experiences with your households — masks, snugly on — all contribute to sustaining jobs, as well as sustaining our spirits as a community.”
Paseo Nuevo in Santa Barbara is continuing its annual “Let it Snow” snowfall through Dec. 31. The outdoor shopping center simulates snowfalls every half-hour daily, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and will offer Photos with Santa in front of Paseo Nuevo’s grand Christmas tree. Santa will be out to greet and take selfies with guests on Dec. 19 and Dec. 20 from noon to 6 p.m., with no appointments required, according to the shopping center.
Visitors can drop off a handwritten letter to Santa’s mailbox near center court through Dec. 24, and they might even get a response, event organizers said.
From home, families can livestream Storytime with Santa via Youtube, courtesy of Paseo Nuevo, at 11 a.m. every Thursday through Dec. 24.
Santa Barbara’s Waterfront Department will hold a “Paradeless” Parade of Lights vessel holiday decorating contest this year. Members of the public will get to judge the entries and pick winners, according to the city. Waterfront staff members will take photos of all the boats that enter the contest and post them on social media, along with a judging poll, according to the city. Winners will be announced Dec. 21. Visit the city website here for more information.
The holiday season is characterized by gift-giving and showing care to loved ones. Santa Barbara residents can help keep local businesses afloat despite the coronavirus-caused economic upheaval by shopping at one of many local shops and markets.
Paseo Nuevo’s Outdoor Christmas Market features a variety of local specialty booths for guests to shop for goods from Santa Barbara-based artisans and makers safely within the mall’s open spaces. The outdoor market occurs weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays until Dec. 24.
The first-ever State Street Promenade Market is open every Thursday through Dec. 17 between Carrillo and Figueroa streets. (Jade Martinez-Pogue / Noozhawk photo)
The first-ever State Street Promenade Market is open every Thursday through Dec. 17 from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Each week, the 1000 block of State Street between Carrillo and Figueroa streets is transformed into a marketplace for shoppers to meet and shop downtown purveyors. Along with the holiday lights that line State Street annually, temporary art and light installations are set up, as well as sample eats and drinks.
“Our goal is to encourage people to shop local and small this holiday season, all while staying safe and socially distancing,” event organizers said.
The Yes Store, Santa Barbara’s original artists’ pop-up gift gallery, is being held virtually this year. The gallery that has become a Santa Barbara tradition since its opening in 1968 continues to highlight the area’s finest artisans, including woodworking, ceramics, fine jewelry, glasswork, fabric, leather and more. Residents can shop for one-of-a-kind gifts at The Yes Store’s online portal through Dec. 24.
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, at 2559 Puesta del Sol, is hosting a series of pop-up shops in its courtyard featuring vendors selling goods from all over the world. Each week features a different vendor from the annual “Folk and Tribal Arts Marketplace” fundraiser, and 25% of sales benefit museum programs and exhibits, event organizers said. The pop-up shops are open from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays until Dec. 20.