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Business

This Little Piggy Wears Cotton Picks Up and Moves

Longtime Paseo Nuevo tenant finds new lease on East De la Guerra Street; mall's Ann Taylor Loft to close next week

Changes are under way at Santa Barbara’s Paseo Nuevo, with one of the oldest tenants departing and another store just about to close.

After 17 years in the open-air mall, This Little Piggy Wears Cotton children’s clothing shop has moved to 18 E. De la Guerra St. Meanwhile, the Ann Taylor Loft store is set to close June 19. Corporate officials with Ann Taylor, which operates a store at La Cumbre Plaza, 136 S. Hope Ave., could not be reached for comment.

With This Little Piggy’s store relocation and Ann Taylor Loft’s departure, about a half-dozen storefronts are vacant in and around Paseo Nuevo. The various building sections of the shopping area are owned by several different holding companies.

This Little Piggy owner Jennifer Powell said rent at Paseo Nuevo has steadily increased while retail sales have not.

“When we opened in 1993, rent was a quarter of what it is now,” she said. She declined to give exact numbers.

This Little Piggy opened for business 21 years ago on Anacapa Street. Today, Powell has five shops, including one at 1470 East Valley Road in Montecito, but plans to close a Santa Monica location.

“My partner at the time and I started the store because we couldn’t find cotton clothes for our kids,” Powell said. Her concept of a hip and whimsical boutique catering to parents “looking for more than just lace and seersucker for their babies and children” took hold and grew during the height of the baby boom’s boomlet.

Like many small businesses these days, Powell said she is confronted with sluggish sales, triple-net leases and mounting taxes, including one called a “tourist tax,” which is levied because of her shop’s proximity to Highway 101.

This Little Piggy also produces its own line of family lounge wear, called PiggyBrand, which is designed in-house and made of organic cotton. Powell said her company strives to produce organic products through sustainable methods.

The new store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Noozhawk contributor Ray Estrada can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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