Calle Real in Goleta is one of the best, and most convenient, neighborhoods for shopping on Santa Barbara County’s South Coast.
So it’s not surprising that next-gen entrepreneur Alexis “Lex” Gruetzmacher would choose the bustling area for her new modern general store, MĀCHER.
Gruetzmacher had always wanted to open a clothing store, but she spent 13 years working in business development in the Bay Area health insurance industry. In 2019, she and her husband, Josh, a professional photographer and Goleta native, decided to move their family to his hometown.
After COVID-19 erupted in early 2020, a project Gruetzmacher was working on for a new company ended, Josh’s jobs were paused and schools closed. Like just about everyone else, the couple hunkered down with their three children.
After a year and a half, however, they both felt it was time to get back to work. While Gruetzmacher started interviewing for insurance sector positions, she said she “could just feel in my gut that this was not the right direction.”
“If there ever was a time to switch directions,” she told Noozhawk, “it was now.”
She and her husband both missed San Francisco’s plethora of little neighborhood shops where they could find something both special and unique. In talking with family and friends, they discovered they were not alone — especially with so many young couple and families in Goleta.
Working from the concept of “a modern general store,” they decided on an easy-to-navigate shop with a little bit of everything, from housewares to accessories for body and home, from kids’ toys to books.
Particular attention was paid to sustainable products that are ethically made and eco friendly.
Gruetzmacher shared that she has a strong appreciation for well-crafted, well-designed wares.
“The artisans and makers who check all these boxes end up being small independent companies, which fit so well with our shop,” she said.
Among her favorite lines are House No.23 textiles, hand-loomed in a small Turkish village on a loom first used by the grandfather of the sisters who founded the company.
“They’re not only beautiful but can function as towels, blankets, throws, shawls and tablecloths,” she said.
Another recommendation is a children’s handmade clothing line from Petit Martin in France.
Eric Bonnin Ceramics are another fan favorite, including this fan. The New York City company makes the tonal modern pottery by hand.
Just in time for the holidays, MĀCHER is teaming up with The Heirloom Table for wreath-making workshops. An e-commerce store is in the works. And plans are afoot for an in-store refillery so customers can refill their soaps, lotions and detergents rather than add to plastic waste.
Gruetzmacher says Goleta “has been the perfect starting place for my first venture into retail.”
“The community is warm and welcoming, with a small-town energy coupled with modern taste,” she said.
MĀCHER is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The store is closed on Mondays.
— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at email@example.com. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.