An eclectic consignment house with furniture, mattresses, art, jazz music, fashion wine, auctions and other events is coming to La Cumbre Plaza’s iconic Sears Building.
Glenn Novack, owner of Moving Miss Daisy in Goleta, and a business partner have signed a 10-year lease to take over the 17,000-square-foot first floor. Sears closed its doors in early 2019.
“I can see people coming in after a nice dinner at the Lure and having a glass of wine, without ever leaving the parking lot,” Novack said. “Anything that brings people to this area that has been kind of a ghost town for a long town is helpful. It’s a new added attraction.”
He plans to open in early March.
The future of the Sears Building and the surrounding property, which has three owners, has been the subject of intense speculation. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, there was talk of using it as a place for overflow COVID-19 patient beds. The owners of the property also have talked about the site for a major housing development. Others have suggested that the parking lot on the top flow could be used as a site for a homeless tent encampment.
Sears had long been one of the anchor destinations of La Cumbre Plaza, a place for working-class people to shop for everything from new school clothes and jewelry to beds and refrigerators. Before online shopping and the success of Amazon decimated big-box retailers, Sears was one of the only affordable places to shop for generations of families. But with shopping habits permanently disrupted, the site is now considered prime real estate for future generations.
The housing proposal is the most likely long-term future use of the overall site. Novack said he has a 10-year-lease, but the owners have an option after seven. For at least the next seven years, the Sears Building will be home to Miss Daisy’s Consignment and Auction House.
The consignment store will include home furnishings, antiques, art, carpets and rugs, decor, fashions, household items, lighting, memorabilia, patio furniture, porcelain and pottery, tabletop, exercise equipment, musical instruments and much more. Novack, a musician who plays in a jazz band, also plans live music with wine and seating. People can sit in consignment couches or special seating for events.
Novack is also planning mixers, a stage with professional sound and lighting.
“It’s going to be a professional entertainment venue,” he said. “I want this place to be packed.”
Novack has been spending 16-hour days inside the building, working with crews on renovation.
Setting up and staging events is old hat for Novack. He was working in the event planning business when he suddenly became his mom’s caregiver, a job he had for about 13 years. During the process, he said, he learned about downsizing and retrofitting homes for seniors. She’s now at Samarkand, but his consignment business includes helping seniors moving into smaller homes and finding them the right furniture.
It’s a good time to be in the consignment business, Novack said. Because of COVID-19, a lot of people were buying secondhand-quality furniture because of delays in shipping. The real estate boom also helped, with people all over the South Coast buying homes and needing furniture to fill them.
The Sears Building is in Santa Barbara City Councilman Eric Friedman’s district.
“With the planning process for the future of La Cumbre Plaza expected to be a multiyear effort, it is critical that the former Sears Building not remain vacant in the interim since it is an anchor for the plaza as a whole,” Friedman said. “The new consignment store is a positive development for La Cumbre Plaza and will bring in new energy and public interest.”
He said the store will meet everyone’s needs.
“With a unique business model for the area that includes a traditional shopping experience as well as one-time events such as estate sales, live auctions and fashion shows, there is an opportunity for the public to stay engaged and visit the plaza for new events, experiences and one-time opportunity purchases,” Friedman said. “This flexibility fits the needs for the upper State Street neighborhood and La Cumbre Plaza as a whole, especially during this period of change.”
Also part of the array of attractions is Louis John boutique fashions, which include clothing, handbags, jewelry, accessories and candles. There will be regular fashion shows.
Part of the business will include “Consign For a Cause,” where people can donate items and the sales will benefit local nonprofit organizations.
Novack said the store will be the biggest consignment store in three counties.
“We are going to have a lot of large pieces,” he said. “Montecito will have a place to shop. If you are looking for a couch, we will have 50 of them.”