Customers lined up to purchase their last bags of Styrofoam peanuts and cardboard boxes this morning because Pacific Paper on lower Garden Street closed its doors on Friday afternoon.
Something of a Santa Barbara secret for paper-product shoppers but well-known to shippers and cleaners, the retail store, housed in an old wooden warehouse by the railroad tracks, started life about 25 years ago, sales associate Kat Morton estimated, and was then bought by Empire Cleaning Supply in the 2010s. This morning the store still held janitorial supplies and equipment, gallon jugs of liquid soaps and drain cleaners, eight kinds of packing tape, colored tissue paper, gift bags, and cardboard boxes that ranged in size from jewelry to wardrobe. It had offered a packing and shipping service for artworks until bought by Aramsco about five years ago.
“We’re moving to Oxnard,” Morton explained, as she went to search for vacuum cleaner bags and brought stacks of boxes out of the back for customers. She added that the new owners had decided to consolidate the stores. Customers waiting in line joked about buying toilet brushes for Valentine’s Day. One said she didn’t know where she’d find such good prices on packing material for her eBay shipping.
Dan Roeber, the West Coast district manager for Aramsco, said the company was a wholesaler based on the East Coast that handled products for environmental cleanup contractors. “Your fires and that debris flow?” he said. “Our customers are the contractors that came in and cleaned up the houses and did the restoration.”
Roeber said the Santa Barbara location had suffered during the pandemic from a drop-off in business when the pause button was hit for customers across the board. The boxes and peanuts and gift wrap would be moved to Oxnard and sold until gone, he said. They would not be resupplied.