September 20, 2017    

The future of retail may be stores that aren't stores at all. This week, Apple announced that their new stores will be called "town squares." Nordstrom
announced last week that they will open their first store in LA without merchandise, but with spa services, personal stylists, and a bar. This notion of "stores as experiences" is not necessarily new: remember Post-WWII when malls were all the rage? Those suburban malls were actually stores and community gathering places reimagined, in response to changing consumer trends. Downtown Santa Barbara will have to adapt to today's fundamental, cross-generational shifts in consumer preferences and behavior, in order to evolve.  
 
When our State Street Retail Study was completed in June, each building and storefront in the study area was scored based on appearance, signage, merchandise presentation, and other variables that contribute to the success of a retailer. These confidential scores are available to any individual business or property owner interested in improving their retail presence. For more information about the Retail Study, or for a business or property owner to get their individual scores, email Kate .
                                      
From the Retail Study, one of the barriers identified to open or operate a downtown business i s the City's stringent regulatory environment and permitting process, particularly here in El Pueblo Viejo District.  It is very encouraging that the Santa Barbara C ity Council voted unanimously to support a new expedited plan and design review initiative, now called "A CCELERATE" specifically designed to foster economic development for State Street businesses located between Cabrillo Boulevard and Sola Street. Several prospective and existing businesses are already benefitting from this expedited support. For information, click here.    
 
 
Special thanks to AIA Santa Barbara (American Institute for Architects), for your leadership in organizing the upcoming "Making State Street Work" Charrette (Saturday, October 21st) at the Louise Lowry Davis C enter. This by-invitation-only interactive design charrette will engage architects, contrac tors, planners, and owners to brainstorm and envision how the built environment can be changed to re-purpose form er retail space for new uses, con nect p ublic and private spaces, and accommodate housing and other design improvements to knit together the downtown fabric. Downtown Santa Barba ra is proud to be a sponsor of this design charrette for State Street!
   
Over the last two y ears, our organization has been working closely with C3H, our local collaborative f or homelessness. Our business owners have come to better understand how complex and challenging the impacts of homelessness can be, especially for those people experiencing it. I am excited to share good news for all: thanks to a new funding source and innovative partnership through C3H, the United Way and Americorps as part of their Home For Good approach, a full-time social outreach worker has started interacting with our downtown homeless population on a daily basis, in an effort to build trust and better connect them to needed services and a way home. We are seeking adult socks and toiletries donations in support of this new daily homeless outreach effort; donations can be delivered to our offices (27 B. East de la Guerra); we also accept donations via credit card.   
 
Here in the office, we are in full swing for the 4th quarter marketing and events planning, including three 1st Thursdays, the Holiday Parade, Halloween and Holiday Wi ndo w D├ęcor contests, and more. 
We are adding a pop-up Block Party to October's 1st Thursday, to help highlight the local Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA installation with support from The Getty.  
For all of our local businesses: Small Business Satu rday is November 25th - last year more than thirty of our members participated in this promotion that surpassed Black Friday in retail sales nationally, with support from American Express. For details about participating in any of our signature events or promotions, info@downtownsb.org.    
 
Please join us for the Annual Mega-Mixer Thursday, September 28th (5:30 pm - 7:30 pm), hosted this year by Sonos Corporation at their amazing creative office space (614 Chapala Street). This go-to business-to-business networking event is jointly sponsored by Downtown Santa Barbara, the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region, the Goleta Chamber of Commerce, Hospitality Santa Barbara, and Visit Santa Barbara. Tickets are going fast, and we do expect to sell out so CLICK HERE get your ticket today.   
 
I dropped by the new Hotel Californian last Sunday afternoon, their first official day of operation. Slowly but surely, this new luxury hotel will be introducing itself to both the visitor and international markets, as well as to our local community. I look forward to hearing about some of their tenant announcements for the State Street retail spaces, and can already visualize the new Santa Barbara Visitor Center that will be operated by the Chamber, to be located in the first storefront south of the railroad tracks. Can't you?
 
 
Regards from State Street,
   
Maggie Campbell
Executive Director