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BizHawk: Fine Fabrics Plans Expansion for State Street Location, Store Inventory

JANGEORGe Interior Design opens in Montecito, Maureen Grattan joins Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell, and Santa Barbara transient occupancy tax down in October

Fine Fabrics owner Susanne Chess is expanding her display room at 1307 State St. in Santa Barbara, bringing in special cotton and more silk and lace fabrics from Solstiss.
Fine Fabrics owner Susanne Chess is expanding her display room at 1307 State St. in Santa Barbara, bringing in special cotton and more silk and lace fabrics from Solstiss.      (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

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Susanne Chess opened her Santa Barbara business, Fine Fabrics, in 2004, noticing as a passionate seamstress that the number of options for sewers was dwindling.

She competed with a couple other local shops that had the same idea, but Fine Fabrics has remained as one of the last fabric stores standing, mainly because the longtime Santa Barbara resident was able to find a niche selling quality silks and lace.

After more than a decade in business and over two years at her current 1307 State St. location, Chess plans to double her business display space by rearranging the location.

That’s why Fine Fabrics has been closed for a month — the website is always open, she says — while she works to open shortly after Christmas or New Years.

“We’ve been expanding all along,” Chess said of a carefully curated collection.

“It’s my love and passion. We’re actually a lot bigger than we appear.”

Fine Fabrics will add fine cottons from Spain, Turkey and France to its stock of mostly European fabric, although she said a lot is also made stateside.

Her 1,000-square-foot business is also known for selling Solstiss lace, silk and what Chess calls some of the “finest ingredients of fashion.”

Interior Design Shop Opens in Montecito

JANGEORGe Interior Design has opened at 1101 Coast Village Rd. in Montecito.

As the brainchild of co-owners and designers Jan Oostdijk-Rutgers and George Rutgers-Oostdijk, the local full-service design company opened in November — the second after its flagship Sag Harbor, New York location.

JANGEORGe focuses on high-end residential projects across U.S. and Europe.

Jan and George moved to the U.S. in 2009 from the Netherlands and now live in both Sag Harbor and Montecito.

Grattan Joins New Law Firm

Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell LLP has hired Maureen Grattan to join its Santa Barbara law firm effective Dec. 1.

Grattan has been a lawyer for over 30 years, with experience as a trained mediator and trial lawyer. Her practice areas include family law and civil litigation.

Grattan is chair of the Family Law Section of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association, a member of the Santa Barbara Bench/Bar Committee, a Settlement Master for Santa Barbara County courts and an attorney coach for the Dos Pueblos High School Mock Trial team.

Santa Barbara Transient Occupancy Tax Revenues Fall in October

Santa Barbara lodging establishments collected approximately $1.6 million in transient occupancy tax (TOT) for the month of October 2015 — down 0.3 percent from October 2014, according to the city.

Despite one additional weekend day, both occupancy rates and TOT revenues slightly declined.  

Occupancy rates declined from 80.3 percent in October 2014 to 79.9 percent this year.

The city says closure of a well-established motel in the city in March 2015 (the Sandman Inn) continues to have an impact on TOT revenues in the current fiscal year. October’s TOT revenues were also up against a 26 percent growth in the same month last year.

Garden Street Building Fills With New Tenants

The Spanish-style building at 801 Garden St. has been fully leased to a mix of office tenants, according to Hayes Commercial Group. 

The landlord tasked Greg Bartholomew and Steve Hayes of Hayes Commercial Group with filling the vacant building within a year, and they procured five tenants to occupy the remodeled building ahead of schedule.

The Barry Berkus-designed building was constructed in the 1980s as a 24,522-square-foot multi-tenant office building, which was occupied by Antioch University for about 20 years and then Sonos.

Once vacant, the owner remodeled the suites, common areas and patio areas to meet current tenant requirements.

“Tenants were attracted to the building because of the modern upgrades to the suites as well as the exterior space, the subterranean parking, and appeal of being located downtown,” Bartholomew said in a news release.

“These were all important factors helping us to completely re-tenant the building in a short time frame at or near our asking rents.”

The new tenants are all existing Santa Barbara companies, including Integrated Insurance (Neovia) (returning to downtown Santa Barbara after a 12-year stint in Goleta), the Henderson & Borgeson law firm, Caliber Home Loans, and the Miller-McCune Center, which is moving from downtown offices of comparable size in order to take advantage of the freshly-remodeled suites.

High-tech firm BrightMarket (aka FastSpring) is expanding from a smaller space downtown.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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