Used Furniture, No Pervs: A month into 2010, the eternal round of retail musical chairs shows no signs of letting up. And a couple delightful developments concern the world of consignments. (What timing! Who doesn’t greet the New Year itching to ditch the old? You know, so you’ll have space for the new.) To wit, Cominichi’s (421 E. Cota St.) has repurposed the enormous back room, previously occupied by Bali Trading, for public furniture consignments (read: You, too, can be a vendor), which is awesome, and not just for the shopping half of the equation. To quote owner Gina Comin: “If you have cool stuff you want to sell, bring it—it’s safer than craigslist. No perverts coming to your house! Let me deal with them.”

Out of the Closet: In equally fabulous news, as of March 1, consignment clothier The Closet is moving to State Street proper. Lest you worry such a move might sacrifice some of its impossible-to-find cachet (and, speaking of: The current spot in Victoria Court will remain open through the end of February), I think the perks more than make up for it: The new digs, at 920 State—between the Apple store and Borders Books—are bigger, more accessible, and will feature all-day buying, trading, and consigning (no more appointments), as well as extended hours (10am-8pm). And get this: They’re going to offer curbside consignment service, too—just pull up, and they’ll deal with all that tiresome … carrying. All the shopping, none of the exercise! What will they think of next?

As It Is on Science Friday, So It Is on State Street: Bees are disappearing. I am, of course, referring to the Blue Bee spawn of yesteryear. Yep, the stores have been consolidated (Bye, Kids! Bye, Luxe!), and the boys are back to where they started—913 State Street. (Insert snarky commentary here—I promise I won’t call you on it when I see you waiting in the queue for their next sale. Okay, maybe I will.)

Spotlight On: Taka Puna

Taka Puna

It’s like a “very special” episode of a TV show you’d never admit to watching: You’re walking along a familiar route in the town you’ve lived for longer than you’d care to mention. You spot an enticing storefront. Assuming it’s new, you wander in, to introduce yourself to the owners. And they tell you they’ve been there for 12 years.

This happened to me recently: shameful. The shop in question is Taka Puna, tucked in at 428 East Haley Street, an area generally reserved for quality tacos, lumber, and auto parts. So maybe my ignorance can be forgiven? Regardless, inside I found nomad-proprietors Michael and Hilary Anderson—Londoners who found S.B. by way of New Zealand, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, leaving a trail of fabulous shops in their wake. They’re known for their meticulously made, vintage-influenced Clacton and Frinton men’s collection—which expertly walks the line between classic and trendy, and has earned raves from the likes of GQ, Esquire, Elle, costume designers for TV and film, and one John Malkovich. (O, to be him!) They even make custom suits. But, unshockingly, the menswear wasn’t what drew me inside. (Not even the classic SBA luggage tag-screened tees.) They carry duds for the ladies, too, but that wasn’t what did it either: I was lured in by the fantastic other stuff, which they source from the world over. The fleur-de-lis-embossed cut-glass tumblers from France, the pewter flaming hearts from Germany that look as though they must be from Mexico, even the graphic toe socks from Japan—every last thing oozes fabulous. A true find. (Visit for our cover story on Taka Puna.)

K. Frank

Shop This: K.Frank

Run, do not walk, to K.Frank (1023 State St.). Why? Well, as the ink dries on this story (would that it were so—how many fantastic white tops have you ruined with newsprint? Okay, score one for the Interwebs), they will be capping their winter sale, marking all sale merch down to 50 percent off—and clearance to 80 percent off. Told you so. Now go. Wash your hands first.

3 Reasons to Check Out: Santa Barbara Historical Museum Shop

Who doesn’t love a museum shop? And while, at first glance, the brand-new Towbes Museum Store at downtown’s Santa Barbara Historical Museum (136 E. De la Guerra St.) seems like any other, a closer look reveals how meticulously the collection has been put together: Every little thing has a story to tell about Santa Barbara’s history. Here are three reasons to check it out:

1) The black-and-white photo magnets. Is that Einstein beachcombing at Butterfly? Is that Nixon leaning over to shake Leo Carrillo’s hand at a Fiesta parade? Yes and yes.

2) The kids’ stuff. The aviation-themed toys, inspired by Lockheed and Boeing, which both got their start here; the 3-D puzzle that replicates the Fernald Mission; the Chumash storybooks.

3) The mix of old (antique Spanish santos dating to 1720) and new (local artisan-designed jewelry, coats, and bags), and the rotating exhibition-themed collections. Photo buffs take note: An exhibit of Carolyn & Edwin Gledhill’s portrait work is slated for February 11.


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