Shop Local for Coffee, Too

Generally speaking I like Nick Welsh’s observations and insights on Santa Barbara. I’m a faithful reader. But, I do have to take exception to his commentary of May 12, “Lamentations for a Latte.” Nick is being unfair, and a person in his position can’t say he doesn’t care about being unfair. To quote: “Maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe I don’t care.” Sorry. Nick has a responsibility to care about every word he puts out in the public domain. If not, he should move along and find another profession — maybe as a barista.

It’s not fair to stand up on the Santa Barbara Independent’s soapbox and make statements that impact those businesses on State Street that need all of our support and the Independent’s support. The last several months have seriously impacted a lot of business owners up and down State Street, and Nick’s comments, based on Peet’s Coffee closing its doors, are insulting to the hundreds of people who work tirelessly to make their establishments successful in spite of incredible obstacles. I can only imagine the anguish Nick experienced when Macy’s closed its doors. He must have been suicidal.

To categorize State Street as “deader than dead, an experiential wasteland devoid of flavor or function” is an exaggeration of incredible proportions. I’m not sure where Nick gets his editorial license, but clearly he is out of sync — probably due to caffeine withdrawals.

To make my point one only has to see how many people are out at night frequenting our restaurants and bars. Or how many people are walking up and down the street enjoying the shops. The electric shuttles are often standing-room only. The 1st Thursday events continue to be a hot ticket, and every time Moxi throws a party it sells out in hours. The Lobero, Granada, New Vic, Arlington, and our smaller venues continue to produce incredible programming that makes State Street the center of Santa Barbara’s cultural universe. Pianos on State Street and the new art installations continue to make this the place to shop and dine on the Central Coast.

I’m sure Michael Rosenfeld didn’t plow millions of dollars into the Hotel Californian because he thought State Street was a “festering corpse”. People are investing in State Street real estate because they know this is a hot area with tremendous upside. Economies ebb and flow, and Santa Barbara is in a transitional period. But, as I have for the last 40 years, I’ll put my money on State Street as one of the best places to live and work. I don’t care what Nick Welsh says because he is just plain wrong.

And, Nick, La Arcada would never opt-in for Starbucks or Peet’s. They support local business, and maybe you should also. Try the French Press, Andersen’s Bakery or Jeanine’s. Maybe a good cup of coffee will give you a new lease (pun intended) on life.


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