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Andrew Rawls used to run a luxury tour company in Washington, D.C., until the COVID-19 pandemic decimated his business.
He moved back home with his mother in Colorado to recover, but then decided to make a change.
“I was sort of that millennial in my mom’s basement for a little too long,” Rawls said.
So, he decided to learn a new craft — literally.
He returned to the South Coast and Santa Barbara, where he graduated from UCSB, and took up crafting and sewing. He enrolled in the Small Business Development Collaborative to learn how to write a business plan. After five months, he had his plan and was ready to execute.
Then, on Memorial Day weekend, Rawls opened his newest endeavor — the Crafter’s Library at 9 E. Figueroa St. in Santa Barbara.
“I absolutely love to craft,” Rawls said.
He described the shop as a coworking space for crafters, along with a retail component. The place is set up with sewing machines and work stations, as well as craft items that are for sale.
Classes range from how to thread a sewing machine and roll paper flowers to make a wreath, to learning how to crochet and etch into glass. The shop also sells craft supplies, where people can grab and go and do it at home.
“Anything a member makes in the store they can sell it on my shelf or the website,” Rawls said, adding that the maker earns about 80% of the sale.
Rawls encourages everyone to come out and craft.
“The community support has been overwhelmingly positive,” Rawls said.
More Wings En Route
For years, Santa Barbara has been mostly a desert for chicken wings.
Then, all of a sudden, it’s being deluged. There’s the Wingman Rodeo on Milpas Street. Then, Wingstop opened in La Cumbre Plaza. A couple of months ago, Wingman Rodeo opened a store on Hollister Avenue.
Now, it’s Wingstop’s turn.
The chicken wing chain is ready for business in Isla Vista.
The company hung a sign on the 800 block of Embarcadero del Norte this week, where it plans to open. It’s next to Starbucks and The Habit.
A manager at the La Cumbre Plaza Wingstop told Noozhawk that the new restaurant is still working its way through the permitting process, but it should open in the fall.
Gelato Coming to Solvang
Italian Alessio Carnevale is opening his first brick-and-mortar gelato shop, Via Gelateria in Solvang.
The gelato has been available by special order, through catering and events, as well as custom wholesale orders for local restaurant locations. Now, the handmade, frozen dairy concoctions will be available in a larger format retail experience, according to a news release.
The shop will feature a rotating roster of seasonal, signature flavors, such as Santa Barbara pistachio and lemon zest, roasted coconut and white chocolate, honey and lavender, and fig sorbetto, along with new creations on a regular basis. Carnevale also will keep in regular rotation an array of his most popular flavors, such as vanilla bean, salted caramel, tiramisu, dark chocolate, and espresso, according to a news release.
“When I was a child, I helped my uncle in his gelato shop in Calabria,” Carnevale said in a press release. “That was where I was first introduced to making gelato, and I love those memories. My uncle’s shop kept regular stock of local Calabrian favorites, which is why I’m striving to always have some of my customers’ go-to flavors readily available.”
Carnevale began experimenting with crafting his own gelato in the Santa Ynez Valley in 2014, and shortly thereafter, he started to supply S.Y. Kitchen with gelato for the restaurant and bar’s dessert menu.
Via Gelateria, at 1623 Mission Drive, will offer up to 18 flavors, all made on site, comprising locally-sourced ingredients including California dairy. The owner plans to open this summer.
Old Town Coffee Going Downtown
Goleta’s popular Old Town Coffee will open a shop on State Street in Santa Barbara.
The coffee spot will go inside the Mosaic Locale, 1131 State St., the site of Hook & Press Donuts, which plans to move into the old Jeannine’s spot on Figueroa Street.
It will be called “Old Town Coffee and Roasters,” or “Old Town, Downtown.”
“We are so excited,” the owner told Noozhawk.
New Downtown Businesses
Robin Elander, president of the Santa Barbara Downtown Association, told Noozhawk that several new businesses are headed to the downtown area.
» Board & Brush: DIY painted boards and signs for the home, 31 E. Canon Perdido St.
» Crush Bar: Crushcakes is taking over formerly Armada Wine Merchant inside the San Marcos Courtyard, 1129-A State St.
» Pu’u Muay Thai: Relocating from 1200 block to the 1107 State St.
» Alessia Patisserie & Café: 134 E. Canon Perdido St.
» Augie’s Tequila Bar: 700 State St.
» Caje: Coffee place, 811 State St.
— Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.