Sara Gehris has opened the Santa Barbara Urban Flea Market for vendors of vintage items.
Sara Gehris has opened the Santa Barbara Urban Flea Market for vendors of vintage items. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

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Longtime entrepreneur Sara Gehris still packs a punch. 

Her latest endeavor opened a few days ago downtown — the Santa Barbara Urban Flea Market. It’s a home for vendors of vintage items, including jackets, T-shirts, records, furnishings and countless other eclectic items.

“I just kind of wanted to have a platform for them to be able to sell their merchandise,” Gehris said. “It’s kind of like their own little business within a business.”

She said there’s a community of dealers looking for a spot to sell their items after getting displaced from the COVID-19 pandemic. Gehris said there’s strength in numbers, and everyone coming together can share a space that’s affordable yet high quality.

The shop, at 729 State St., once housed Pascucci Restaurant, which since has moved to the 500 block. Gehris, an interior designer, painted some of the walls and the floor to give the store its own vintage vibe.

“We really have something for all ages and all prices,” she said, adding from $1 to $1,000. “Everybody is so excited about it.”

About 20 vendors share the space.

“I am grateful to have the opportunity, just to bring business back to State Street,” Gehris said.

She used to own vintage store Punch, also on State Street. She sold it in 2015. Before that, she was also a dealer. At one point, she bought a shuttle bus and turned it into a shop in the Funk Zone.

“I really wanted to do a collective again,” she said. “I am just really good with spaces and turning it into a cool vibe.”

She said she eventually plans to hold pop-up bars once a month so people can enjoy beer and wine. 

“I just love creating an interesting space,” she said. “Every little thing here has its own personality and its own story behind it.”

Montecito Club Set to Reopen

Ty Warner announced in a news release on Thursday that the Montecito Club will reopen on Tuesday.

“My vision is to create a private club like no other,” said Warner, owner of the Montecito Club. “We are pleased to open this innovative club with a focus on outdoor amenities, which provide a club experience superior to any other club in the United States.”

The club promises “an exclusive membership opportunity for new members and a focus on elevating outdoor leisure, fitness and social experiences,” he said.

Part of the club’s opening strategy is to offer an exclusive window of opportunity to new and existing area residents who are interested in joining the club’s thriving social presence, according to a news release.

The club in 2019 underwent a $75 million renovation, then closed again at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The club also has hired Mike Orosco as general manager. Orosco joined the Montecito Club in March with an extensive history in private club hospitality and membership development. Before joining the team, he served as the clubhouse manager at Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles.

“I’m excited to be part of the Montecito Club family and work with a stellar team,” Orosco said. “We have an exceptional membership group that is thrilled to return to the club and connect with friends and colleagues with whom they haven’t seen in a long time. We aim to be that safe and exciting environment where they can connect once more.”

Membership includes exclusive benefits across Warner’s portfolio of properties, including the Montecito Club, the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club, the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, San Ysidro Ranch, the Sandpiper Golf Club, the Four Seasons Hotel New York and Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

New outdoor features at the club include Platinum TE Paspalum grass on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course; 4 Rebound Ace tennis courts; a crushed oyster shell bocce ball court with underground LED lights; a 25,000-square-foot pool complex with a kids splash pool and two rim-flow lap pools equipped with underwater bluetooth speakers for listening to personalized playlists, among others. 

Movie Theaters Back in Business

Even amid a pandemic, people venture into the movie theater to see “Godzilla vs. Kong.”

The state’s decision to lift the restriction on movie theaters has paid off on the South Coast, said Natalie Eig, vice president of marketing and communications for the Metropolitan Theatres Corp

The movie “Godzilla vs. Kong” has helped local theaters reach the allowed capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The movie “Godzilla vs. Kong” has helped local theaters reach the allowed capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

“People are excited to be back at the theater,” Eig said. “We’re looking forward to seeing more films offered in the marketplace.”

Eig said movie theaters have reached their 25% capacity since the reopening, largely because of “Godzilla vs. Kong.”

Now, the biggest challenge, she said, is having more movies to show. Some studios are holding off on new releases until movie theaters can return to full capacity. 

“We’re at the mercy of the studios,” she said.

Matty’s Hot Chicken Plans Pop-Up

Matty’s Hot Chicken has secured a spot for its first pop-up, at The Goodland Kitchen, 231 Magnolia Ave. in Old Town Goleta.

It will be open from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, April 18, offering pre-orders and limited walk-ins.

The concept is the creation of Adam Abrams of Santa Barbara who has worked in restaurants since 2004.

Pancake House on the Move

Longtime 24-hour restaurant International House of Pancakes is moving to Goleta at the Plaza Center, a manager told Noozhawk

The new restaurant is scheduled to go at or near the site of the former Pacific Sales Appliance Center. It is unclear exactly where or how much of the area it will occupy.

The manager said the restaurant at 4765 Calle Real in Santa Barbara will remain open until the new restaurant opens it doors, so there will be no loss of continuity. 

Construction is underway, and the new restaurant will open in about five months, the manager said. 

Hotel Bed Taxes Down

Santa Barbara’s February transient occupancy taxes were 39% below the same month in the prior year. The city took in $758,227.

The city has collected $8.3 million through the first eight months of the city’s fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30.

The city’s adopted hotel bed tax budget is $17.2 million. At the current rate, the city is expected to finish with about $14.5 million, which is 16% below budget.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.