Some local retail stores see last-minute shopping, others don’t
As the final day of Christmas shopping came to a close, some Santa Barbara residents got their last-minute shopping done while others seemed to have settled for last-minute online orders.
A handful of shops on State Street in the Paseo Nuevo Mall opened up early to accommodate the shoppers who procrastinated, and while business is obviously slower due to COVID-19 restrictions and the stay-at-home order, some sales associates said they saw more shoppers than usual.
Bluemercury on State Street opened at 7:45 a.m. on Christmas Eve instead of its usual 10 a.m. Beauty adviser Brandon Cortez told the News-Press that they were hoping to snag some of the day-before customers.
“I do see that there’s more people coming in,” he said. “It seems to me like they’re doing a lot of their shopping last minute. It’s still on the slower side, but it’s kicking in.”
State Street’s Poppy Boutique, on the other hand, opened at its normal time, but salesperson Meg Davis said she was considering closing early for Christmas Eve.
She added that the week had been pretty busy.
“We have been busy,” she told the News-Press. “Sunday, Monday, Tuesday … we had good days.
“People come in and say they want to shop locally. They want to come into the smaller stores and help them survive. The people who live here see what’s happening and they see the need to come downtown, but a lot of them said they haven’t been downtown for months.”
At Sunglass Brands International, Manager Minesh Kantaria said business has been pretty slow — much slower than last year.
“I think we’re slower because with the lockdown, people aren’t coming from L.A., and that’s what our business is based on. They’re not here,” he told the News-Press. “After the shutdown, it just died off because the restaurants aren’t busy so then we become not busy and those people don’t come from out of town. It’s dramatically slower.”
He added that the shop doesn’t have a website, so all the sales must come from in-person retail.
Find Your Feet on State Street specializes in stocking stuffers, but store supervisor Goriela Garcia told the News-Press that it’s not nearly as busy as it has been in past holiday seasons. She said that typical Christmas weekdays in the past could reach up to $10,000 in revenue, and this year, they haven’t even hit $5,000.
“I want to say it (the lockdown) has something to do with it, but also, a lot of people are going toward online shopping right now,” Ms. Garcia said. “There’s a lot of deals out there, and we’re all trying to safely distance, so a lot of people are just doing online shopping and not going out as much.”
However, she said she can see a push by Santa Barbara residents to shop locally.
“Some stores started opening earlier, and it’s really pushing other people to come out to their city stores and shop,” Ms. Garcia said. “They also have the local markets in Paseo Nuevo, so I think there’s a push.”
Whether ordered online or ordered in-store to support local, residents of Santa Barbara still hope to give the best gifts to their loved ones, providing some sense of normalcy.