Italian Pottery Outlet Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Family-Owned Downtown Santa Barbara Business Pays Tribute to Italian Heritage and Handmade Ceramics

Italian Pottery Outlet celebrates its 40th anniversary in Downtown Santa Barbara on Saturday, April 1. | Credit: Keith James

For many, Italy represents all things romantic, with its reputation as the birthplace of the Renaissance, radically salable cuisine, and ethereal topography. Luckily for us, over the past 40 years, there has been a little slice of Italy right here in Santa Barbara — State Street’s Italian Pottery Outlet, which celebrates its momentous anniversary on April 1.

Inside the Italian Pottery Outlet, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in Downtown Santa Barbara on Saturday, April 1. | Credit: Keith James

The outlet, which at first glance appears to be a charming and colorful boutique, is a multifaceted family business, started in 1982 by couple Ben and Carol Spalluto and expanded upon through their children Julie, Adele, and Joe.

Adele notes, referencing her father’s native town of Castellana Grotte before moving to the U.S. in the 1950s, “We are very proud of our Italian roots and have a lot of family living in the south of Italy. Our business is in its second generation and hopefully it will be passed down to our next generation when we are ready to retire. The designs vary depending on the regions they are from; for example, the ones that have Renaissance designs come from outside of Florence in Tuscany, and the bright-colored folk art designs are from Sicily.”

In many ways, the store not only pays tribute to the Spalluto family’s Italian heritage but also spreads the outreach of the smaller, family-owned factories in Italy that they sell ceramics from. Just as these factories in Italy are passed down from one generation to the next, the Italian Pottery Outlet lends the same sense of family-owned intimacy into their business.

Downtown Santa Barbara’s Italian Pottery Outlet celebrates its 40th anniversary on Saturday, April 1. | Credit: Keith James

While a range of traditional ceramics rightfully takes the spotlight, with Adele commenting, “Handmade items of any kind are becoming a thing of the past, and I do believe that when people understand that they are purchasing a piece of art, it is much more meaningful,” books, jewelry, candles, and linens, among other products, are also offered.  Adele furthers the capacities of the store, noting, “We treat our customers like guests in our own homes by offering Italy travel tips, making restaurant suggestions and even reservations. We also serve prosecco and espresso and try to ensure that everyone has an amazing experience when they visit.”

With their 40-year anniversary ascending, visit the outlet between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 1 (929 State St., for a celebratory open house with live music, food and drinks, and a storewide sale.


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