Unable to keep up with two commercial loan payments in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, Unity Shoppe is selling its 13,000-square-foot building at 1219 State Street, home to the charity nonprofit’s thrift store. The property is listed for $5,450,000.
Unity Shoppe is looking for a buyer that will allow the thrift store to operate under a 1- to 2-year lease agreement as Unity regroups in its headquarters nearby on Sola Street, according to Barbara Tellefson, the organization’s president and operations director. “People think that we’re just giving toys away at Christmas, but it’s so much more,” she added. “3,000 seniors and 10,000 families across the county depend on us.”
Unity’s financial troubles date to 2009 when its partners of what’s now the New Vic Theatre voted to lease that space to Ensemble Theatre Company. Arguing that the lease would hamper charity operations — such as its annual holiday drive — Unity sued, but lost. Ensemble purchased the theatre space in 2012, and Unity moved to Sola Street.