More State Street Area Changes Coming in Midst of Pandemic

With all the closures and relocations on the South Coast, some positive changes also have come in the way of new business openings and upgrades in the area. 

Bristol Farms market has opened in La Cumbre Plaza while another Sprouts market is opening on lower Milpas Street where Trader Joe’s used to be. Also, in La Cumbre, Macy’s department store has remodeled even though the retail company is troubled nationwide. 

The Insomnia Cookie shop has opened on lower State Street. Up the street, an interior design store has taken the space of a former art gallery. And, more restaurants are coming to life, including a new one on Cota Street where the Middle Child Restaurant and Winebar operated until it shut earlier this year.

Ironically, earlier this year, the Amazon tech center at State Street and Carrillo Boulevard opened its own restaurant, but since it has no patio i can only provide takeout business.

Parklets are growing like weeds and it appears Santa Barbara city officials want them to be around for a long time. Carpinteria’s downtown experiment with such an idea did not initially work out, but it could return. 

Of course, the weather may determine the fate of the parklets since they are not completely enclosed. While wildly popular with the public, outdoor businesses are only garnering a fraction of the usual revenue, bad weather or even smoke could cause a downturn in patronage.

The planned M. Special Brewery in the former Tonic Nightclub space is preparing to open soon at 634 State St. M. Special already is setting up its barrel-bounded parklet.

A growing number of nail salons and hair cutters have taken to al fresco services on and around the so-called State Street promenade. 

The problem there seems to be unbridled young cyclists and skateboarders popping wheelies despite warning signs to protect pedestrians, even during Tuesday’s farmers market. Little enforcement can be seen to slow this problem. 

A barrel-bounded parklet is being set up in front of the soon-to-open M. Special Brewery on State Street.

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