After opening at State and Figueroa streets 10 months ago, the Tracy Porter store has closed its doors and apparently the company has shut down for good.
Tracy Porter designed and sold women’s clothing, home décor, furnishings, and jewelry. The 2,047 square feet of space at 1100 State St. previously was occupied by Blue Bee Luxury, which was consolidated with Blue Bee’s two other shops and went out of business earlier this year.
Porter and her husband, John, started what became a multimillion-dollar business in Ripon, Wisconsin, about 12 years ago. They put their Ripon house up for sale last year and moved to the South Coast.
However, this week the Ripon Commonwealth Press newspaper in Wisconsin reported all of the company’s employees in Ripon have been let go. Tracy Porter’s Web site is advertising its last sale, with just a few items remaining available at tracyporter.com.
Calls and emails to company cofounder John Porter have gone unreturned. No direct contact is available to the company now. Calls to the former State Street location go directly into voice mail.
The store opened October 8 in La Arcada mall. According to her blog, Tracy Porter’s sister and brother-in-law, Robyn and George Mockus, moved to Santa Barbara to help run the shop. A sign in the store over the weekend said it was being remodeled.
It appears State Street’s higher-end, boutique retailers are finding the clothing market more risky than lower-priced, apparel shops. Stores such as Old Navy and Forever 21 appear to have brisk summer business.
For a company that a couple years ago was discussing building a massive distribution center and company headquarters in Ripon’s new business park, Tracy Porter has seen a great fall.
The Porters, former models from Chicago, began the business from a farmhouse near Princeton, Wisconsin, more than a decade ago. Eventually, they sold products in upscale department stores nationwide.
That led to articles in national magazines and even an appearance on Montecito resident Oprah Winfrey’s TV show.
The company later relocated to Ripon and renovated an old Oddfellows building, which became its design studio.
In June 2008, plans were announced for corporate headquarters and a distribution center to be built in Ripon’s new business park. It never occurred.
The South Coast Biz Blog is a roundup of the latest business news in the Santa Barbara area and is written by Ray Estrada, who has covered business in the region for numerous publications over the past couple decades. See more at independent.com/biz and wordpress.com/southcoastbizblog.