Tuesday, March 20 , 2018, 8:40 pm | Light Rain 55º



Despite Recession, Coast Village Road Remains Commercial Mainstay

Street experiences ups and downs but $560,000 in tax revenue is an important part of Santa Barbara's finances

While many visitors and residents may assume Coast Village Road is in Montecito, it’s actually within Santa Barbara city limits and not unincorporated Santa Barbara County. More important, for Santa Barbara, the city collects the tax revenue from sales at the dozens of boutiques, salons, shops, galleries, cafés and professional offices in the commercial district.

City finance officials estimated Coast Village Road brought in some $560,000 in tax revenue during recession-wracked 2009. That’s why even though some Santa Barbara residents might not choose to shop on the street, they might be happy to know tourists and Montecito residents who do are helping pay for city public services.

Coast Village Road currently is home to almost 20 financial institutions and real estate offices. Five jewelers, four architects and three opticians also occupy storefronts along the bustling street. Several apartment complexes and hotels, mostly prominently the Montecito Inn, at the corner of Coast Village and Olive Mill roads, can be found in the less-than-mile-long commercial area.

As with State Street, the recession has put a crimp on Coast Village Road’s revenue generation, and about 10 “For Lease” signs are currently posted on various properties.

One of the recent Coast Village departures was Leanne Michael Florals & Interiors. The boutique’s owner, Leanne Michael, had moved to Montecito from Rancho Santa Fe earlier this year only to relocate to Summerland this month. She plans to officially reopen in a couple of weeks.

“I wanted something bigger,” Michael said. “I have my own parking lot now in Summerland, which is great with all the antique shops.”

Michael said she will get more foot traffic at the 2270 Lily Ave. shop in Summerland than on Coast Village Road. She also said her new rent will be half the $6,000 a month she was paying in Santa Barbara.

Many Coast Village Road retailers are in for the long haul.

Susan Pitcher’s boutique, dressed, 1253 Coast Village Road, occupies what used to be a Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlor. The native New Yorker opened the shop in 2003 and maintains a similar East Coast business.

Nearby, at 1235 Coast Village Road, is Summer for Kids, a natural and organic children’s clothing store that donates its profits to CALM (Child Abuse Listening & Mediation) and the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation. Owner Adriana Shuman said she wanted to start a business that would only sell “safe and eco-friendly products for babies and children.”

An oasis in the midst of the area’s retail atmosphere is Turk Hessellund Nursery, 1255 Coast Village Road. The business may seem out of place but, after strolling down the street, a respite among the plants, flowers and pottery of the corner nursery provides a welcome contrast to what Montecito visitors normally see.

Xanadu French Bakery and Montecito Barbers were burned out in a fire earlier this month at the Vons shopping center. The barber shop quickly reopened in a vacant space on the other side of the building.
Xanadu French Bakery and Montecito Barbers were burned out in a fire earlier this month at the Vons shopping center. The barber shop quickly reopened in a vacant space on the other side of the building. (Ray Estrada / Noozhawk photo)

The Vons shopping center on the far west end of the commercial district has a Coast Village Road address, as do the two dozen shops and restaurants that surround the market. The most noteworthy of these include Xanadu French Bakery and Montecito Barbers, which were heavily damaged by a July 2 predawn fire that caused some $750,000 in damage.

The bakery used to be a popular stop for many South Coast-based writers who congregated in the courtyard. The nearly 40-year-old barber shop quickly reopened in a vacant space nearby in the complex, but the heavily damaged bakery sits gutted.

A move is afoot to replace the Olive Mill 76 Service Center, 1298 Coast Village Road, with a Spanish-style mixed-use condominium complex as part of what property owner John Price is calling the Coast Village Road Gateway Project. The removal of the service station would leave Price-owned Coast Village Chevron, 1085 Coast Village Road, as the neighborhood’s only gas station.

For more than a year, the street was hampered by the construction of the Montecito Roundabout at the west end of the district. Completed late last year, the roundabout replaced two stop signs at the intersections of Coast Village and Hot Springs roads, Old Coast Highway and Cabrillo Boulevard, which often were tediously slow during peak traffic hours.

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

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