Santa Barbara Outfitters Closing Shop

Outdoor Equipment and Clothing Retailer Cites Rent Issues

Thursday, January 10, 2013
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Santa Barbara Outfitters — which has sold outdoor gear for nearly 10 years from one of the city’s most premier commercial properties — will, in the words of its owner, be “gone and done” at the end of the month.

Santa Barbara Outfitters
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman (file)

Santa Barbara Outfitters

Luisa Hyatt said Tuesday that she and her husband, Mark, recently decided to not renew their lease at 1200 State Street, noting they’ve been in “a lot of negotiations” with their landlord but were unable to reach a rent agreement. Hyatt declined to go into details on the matter, explaining she’d rather focus on “celebrating what this business has represented in town for the last 10 years.” The retailer’s sister store, prAna — which sells clothing and was opened by the Hyatts a few years ago — has plans to move down the street to Mountain Air Sports.

Hyatt told her 25 or so employees of the decision last weekend, noting some were panicked and others were brought to tears by the news. She and her husband have been looking at locations where they could potentially reopen their store, she said, but conceded it will be challenging to “duplicate the prime location” they’ve occupied for so long. Other nearby businesses have expressed worry that, without the anchor of Santa Barbara Outfitters on the corner of State and Anapamu streets, shoppers will take their money to other parts of town, Hyatt said.

Hyatt explained that the couple sunk untold amounts of time, funds, and energy into their commercial property, revamping the space that used to hold a Bible store. They restored its 1850s hardwood floors, she went on, added a climbing wall, and knocked down other walls to connect their floor space to prAna’s. On the plus side, Hyatt went on, they were able to get out earlier than what their lease allowed when one their friends, who’s friends with the building owner, called in a favor.

Of whether REI’s 2011 opening hurt their sales to the point of forcing closure, Hyatt said they only saw “a little drop in business. … It contributed only a tiny bit.” Santa Barbara Outfitters, she continued, stayed competitive by stocking unique brands and holding sales during key weeks each season. Right now, all of the shop’s merchandise is marked 40 percent off as the Hyatts wind things down.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

I hope they or some of their other local business people can relocate. State St. is being destroyed. before more people lose their businesses entirely maybe they all need to form a coalition, and maybe create a new business district that both serves residents and appeals to visitors- like State St. once did.
Proactive steps need to be taken because this is happening more and more frequently.
In five years State St. will be a strip mall.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 4:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Funny KV, I've been saying State Street starting getting substantially destroyed over 20 years ago. There is no hope for our once vibrant shopping district that catered to all types of people.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 7:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think the key is "they were able to get out earlier than what their lease allowed". If they were doing ok, they would not have had to break their lease early. Just a case of bad management, not bad luck or rent increase, causing them to go under.

wtf_U_say (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 8:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And I'd say you're right on that chronology. Who set this process in motion?
That's why I'm suggesting that we start a new shopping district that caters to all types of people. Not to be a fatalist but I think "trying to rescue" State St. is almost a lost cause. Better to rescue the actual businesses left.

All it takes is two merchants meeting, getting together a general plan then reaching out to all the indie/local merchants, fine-tuning the plan etc. As long as they keep politics out of it and stick to a common goal they can do it.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 8:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

While I agree and encourage your solution, locals here like in most cities went right along with the nutty social engineering/urban planning that created strip malls and destroyed hundreds of city centers in the U.S.
I chuckle when I hear Americans talk about the lovely piazza's in Europe and how nice it is to have all the people in one place shopping and congregating; you mean like State Street used to be?
They removed the street parking off of State, good and bad I admit, and now people instead drive to 5 Points.
Of course what local older than 25 can resist the daily allure of lower State and having scores of bars available? Hell, I even miss Pep Boys...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 5:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

haha whoever thought we'd miss Pep Boys! And remember when you could buy appliances not just in town but on State St. itself!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 7:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bummed to see them go. I had a hard time finding anything I liked, wanted or needed there. Often times a cool breeze would blow into town and I would think about going to get a cool soft shell or similar jacket only to find them running summer specials.

SB should just get over it, allow the target etc of the world and move on. Maybe State St will evolve back into an office district like it once was. I for one appreciate State St, but I hate how the traffic and the one way mini-highways that were enforced to create state st as we know it today, have ruined the neighborhoods adjoining state street.

SBREADER42 (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 8:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

No creature on Earth smells capitalistic blood in the water like Santa Barbara landlords. Thanks to all you landbastards for losing another local business to GREED.

Draxor (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 11:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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