I think it’s safe to say the words “there’s no place to shop in Montecito” can safely be retired. The lament from those who love to shop but have felt deprived can stop right now!
In fact, Montecito’s thriving retail scene has made people ask me what I think about all these new stores. Personally, I don’t subscribe to the “too much” theory and I’m thrilled to have more selection. Even so, I’ll acknowledge that the square footage of these smaller but well-curated stores can’t compete with larger competitors in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City.
Some locals, not used to so much selection, opine about who will make it and who will not. Montecito folks love to speculate. From a drought to El Niño of retail, we’ve been flooded with new offerings to entertain us and get us to take out our credit cards.
It has been fascinating to watch each new store roll out, from Best Dressed Monk at the end of December to House of Honey this month. The two biggest areas of change were certainly the Montecito Country Mart and The San Ysidro Village as the latter has been christened after a good, old-fashioned fun naming contest.
Both of these centers leased a gaggle of resources. The Montecito Country Mart on Coast Village Road, adjacent to the still lackluster Vons, is home to many new businesses and some great existing ones. The stores are melding together quite nicely, fulfilling owner Jim Rosenfield’s vision of a one-stop neighborhood shopping destination.
The San Ysidro Village tenants in Richard Gunner’s development, located across San Ysidro Road from the venerable Wendy Foster and Pierre Lafond, are all newbies — except for S.R. Hogue & Co., William Laman Furniture Garden Antiques store and Country House Antiques.
If you’ve not visited the center of individually designed cottages, circle your calendar. A community open house for all the retail shops will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday. All stores will be open, serving refreshments and kicking off the summer. Maybe June gloom will be history.
Both shopping centers are surrounded with good, solid shops on Coast Village Road and in the Upper Village. Clare Swan has updated her travel and lifestyle store, and sprinkled in between retail shops around the village are new hair salons Patricia Noel and Belle De Jour, My Bakery, and familiar eateries like The Montecito Café, The Montecito Deli, Los Arroyos, Jeannine’s, Cava, Sakana, Tre Lune, Trattoria Mollie, Lucky’s, Via Vai, Pane e Vino, China Palace, Giovanni’s, The Montecito Coffee Shop, Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro, Xanadu and Little Alex’s.
Montecito’s creatures of habit embrace the small-town feeling “where everyone knows your name,” and also how you take your coffee and which wine you drink — all part of the perks and the charm of living in a community like ours.
As I approached my first anniversary as a Noozhawk contributor, I looked back at my own roundup of work, which contained many great human interest stories, the opening of The Lark and the rollout of many of the new store openings.
What follows is a list of only the new resources in 93108 for anyone who has yet to check out their offerings.
Montecito Country Mart, 1024 Coast Village Road
» Calypso: Women’s resort clothing and accessories
» Intermix: Women’s urban-edged clothing and accessories
» Rori’s Creamery: Yummy ice cream in classic and unusual flavorings
» Space NK Apothecary: Upscale cosmetics and home scents
» George: Designer pet supplies, food and treats, and upscale accessories
» Mate: Home furnishings, art and artifacts, where East Coast meets West Coast nostalgia
» Read ‘n Post: Remodeled store offers an express post office, la generous selection of glossy periodicals, newspapers, gift cards and paperbacks
» Hudson/Grace: Contemporary table-top home décor
» Kendall Conrad: High-end leather handbags, small leather goods, belts, shoes and jewelry, all designed by Conrad
Coast Village Road
» Allora by Laura, 1269 Coast Village Road: European and American classic designer clothes and accessories
» J. McLaughlin, 1253 Coats Village Road: Traditional East Coast-inspired women’s sportswear and accessories
» Dani BOY, 1187 Coast Village Road: For the fashionista mom to dress her kids, 2 T and up
» Best Dressed Monk: Men’s clothing and accessories with a unique contemporary bent
» Gaspar, 1213 Coast Village Road: Modern and classic jewelry, with a new look by Katy and Dominique Gaspar
» Gather, 1253 Coast Village Road: Art collective
» My Bakery, 1150 Coast Village Road
San Ysidro Village, 525 San Ysidro Road
» Julianne: Beautiful, couture-inspired upscale clothing and accessories
» Jenni Kayne: Contemporary American designer women’s sportswear, hats, jewelry, shoes and handbags
» Jenni Kayne Home: Home accessories with an accent on natural aesthetics
» Elu: High-end leather masterpieces, clothing, handbags, shoes, boots, belts and jewelry by Italian and American designers
» House of Honey: Interior design services by Tamara Kayne-Honey, along with vintage furnishings, tableware, lighting, decorative objects, contemporary photography, wallpapers and fabrics