Master merchant Amy Cooper is the new owner of The Sacred Space, a treasured Lillie Avenue oasis in Summerland.
Cooper is best known for her popular Plum Goods store in downtown Santa Barbara, which featured eco-chic, sustainable clothing, goods and gifts. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic was insurmountable and she was forced to close in 2020 after 10 years as a fixture on State Street.
She’s spent the last few years consulting on branding, design and curation of commercial environments — including the Hotel Californian’s wine tasting room; the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce’s State Street Visitor Center; the gift shop at MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation; and retail stores in Ojai and San Luis Obispo.
Cooper also has continued to work on economic development efforts, business recruitment and mentoring local business owners, hoping to see an eventual renaissance of Santa Barbara’s downtown core.
As a longtime customer and fan of the Sacred Space, Cooper outbid a slew of buyers when former owners Rose and Jack Herschorn put the property at 2594 Lillie Ave. up for sale after 18 years.
“It was a dream come true to imagine being the owner of my favorite place in town,” she told Noozhawk.
Although Cooper brings experience and passion to the project, she said “this new chapter would have been impossible for me to have done without the partnership of Pete Muller, a local entrepreneur and musician who had the same desire to keep the space as a community resource.”
Every visitor, including yours truly, knows The Sacred Space is much more than a store.
“This magical place is an opportunity for people to feel inspired, peaceful, and to take a break from the stresses and complications of everyday life,” Cooper said.
“The gardens and workshop spaces are a beautiful resource, and the treasures inside allow visitors to take home a piece of that experience.”
Spiritual talismans, antiquities, books, crystals and treasures of all sorts will still be a part of The Sacred Space experience. Self-serve hot tea is provided and sitting is encouraged in the garden, which is open to the public.
Cooper already has put her signature on some of the existing spaces, which feature vignettes of many items and provide an open environment to browse the store. She also has brought in some of her favorite makers from Plum Goods.
Additional items I tried on were printed silk robes for home or the beach. And colorful throw pillows, candles and scents galore are meant to bring more joy into your life.
Plans for the future include building a calendar of evolving workshops, like a May 13 event featuring Mayware Ceramics, which makes and sells handmade ceramics by Ojai artist Jeffrey Ryan, and a mug-painting seminar.
Later this year, Cooper will start carrying furniture and lighting with a goal of helping you recreating The Sacred Space feeling in your own home and backyard.
The Sacred Space is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Tuesday. It’s closed Wednesday.