Boutique Makers.
Blissful Boutique Makers plans to exit Santa Barbara's Paseo Nuevo mall after seven years. The mall plans to put on its own market. (Blissful Boutique Makers photo)

After seven years, the Blissful Boutiques Makers and Wares Market is leaving Santa Barbara’s Paseo Nuevo.

The mall did not renew its lease, a move that has disappointed the mall’s organizer and creator, Lisa Green.

“I was able to give small businesses and local artisans a place to sell their wares,” Green told Noozhawk. “I will bounce back on my feet.”

Paseo Nuevo told Noozhawk that it is re-evaluating its programming.

“With the holiday season upon us, we knew we could optimize the current market with a reimagined market experience, and since the lease was ending in December, the timing seemed appropriate to do so,” said Michelle Waldon, general manager of property management for Paseo Nuevo.

Waldon said Paseo Nuevo guests still will see familiar vendor faces, “plus they will also experience a lot of exciting new, small, local purveyors offering an increased range of handmade goods, such as jewelry, clothing, home decor, art and food.”

Green, however, said she felt blindsided. She received an email recently that read, “Your market has been cancelled as of Nov. 30.”

She reached out to members of the Santa Barbara City Council and the Downtown Organization.

In an email to the group’s executive director, Robin Elander, Green, who is not a vendor, said a majority of her vendors will not apply to Paseo’s market.

“We have been at Paseo Nuevo for seven years, building our vision and our dreams, and that of others,” Green wrote. “We have seen many turnovers at the mall. The market is a draw for people to come in and shop. Nine of our vendors have taken occupancy in storefronts at the mall and still participate in the market. Now, with the new owners, they are taking our vision, hard work and concept to create one of their own.”

Elander told Noozhawk that the decision was Paseo Nuevo’s and that other vendors may participate in the new market or others around town.

Boutique Makers
The organizer of Blissful Boutique Makers plans to move the market to the SBCC parking lot. (Courtesy photo)

At one point, Green had asked if her market could move to the street.

“It isn’t prudent for the Downtown Organization to permit another ongoing market in front of a market that will still be going on and produced by Paseo Nuevo,” Elander said.

Waldon said that during the past few months the mall has been working to build a “robust and exciting calendar of events,” adding new attractions such as October Spooky Movie Nights. It will continue to offer the artisanal makers market.

“While still in the development phase, you can expect to see quarterly guest vendors as well,” Waldon said. ” We want to invite the community to be a part of this expanded market.”

Green, who said she paid the mall $100,000 in rent annually, plans to move her market to the Santa Barbara City College parking lot on Dec. 9.

The city and Paseo Nuevo have plans to demolish the mall in the next few years to build a housing project with at least 500 units.

Santa Barbara City Councilman Oscar Gutierrez spoke with Green about the situation.

“I am trying to work with her and city staff to find an alternative location,” said Gutierrez, suggesting that the alley that connects State Street to De la Guerra Plaza. “I think it is important to support local women, entrepreneurs, vendors, and especially those of color like her, and other vendors there. We have to make sure we try to help them somehow.”

Hotels Continue Their Decline

The Santa Barbara South Coast hotel occupancy declined 4% in September, compared with September 2022, according to Visit Santa Barbara.

The average rate in September was $382 a night, down 1% from the same month last year. Revenue per available hotel room was $281 in September, falling 5% compared with the same month last year, according to a Visit Santa Barbara news release.

“September 2023 marked the 12th consecutive month where travelers booked fewer Santa Barbara South Coast hotel rooms than a year earlier,” said Kathy Janega-Dykes, president and CEO of Visit Santa Barbara. “This frustration is compounded by hotel room rates falling for 10 months in a row. Visit Santa Barbara has seen a significant slowdown in the number of out-of-state visitors, who are especially important to the local economy.”

Wineries Coming to Former Fresco Building

Realtor Caitlyn Hensel posted that two “amazing wine labels @tylerwinery & @lieuditwinery are collaborating on a beautiful and historic space in downtown Santa Barbara!”

The companies will go into the El Centro building, which has housed Fresco and SevTap.

“They will be taking over the main retail space and patio at the El Centro building next door to The Lobero Theater on Canon Perdido Street,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “They will in fact have food offerings as they have a full kitchen from previous tenant Fresco, but that is all a surprise with more info to come.”