Funk Zone businesses attract customers after stay-at-home order ends
Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone neighborhood was lively after the rain cleared — and the stay-at-home order. Tourists and locals relaxed at wine bar patios and browsed local boutiques.
“This weekend was one of the best I’ve had in a minute. People were really stoked,” said Shane Braly, general manager of Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. at 137 Anacapa St. F.
The brewery serves Mony’s Mexican Food, so it can serve on the patio as well as pick-up.
The traffic Saturday surprised him, and staff members came to help serve customers. He blocked off the patio entrance with a pallet, so he could restrict the flow and keep households separate.
He met many customers from L.A. who came to escape the stressful environment at home.
“I was shocked how many people came from out of town, a ton of people from L.A., a ton of people from the Bay Area,” he said. “The amount of people from out of town has been wild the last couple of days.”
Locals were also eager to leave their living rooms, and his regulars wanted to support the business.
“Lockdown for people in Santa Barbara is just rough,” he said. “People are just itching to get out.”
Sunday, Corks ‘n Crowns, a wine bar at 32 Anacapa St., had pairs of customers around its patio. Manager Nick Morello estimated that 75% were local to Santa Barbara.
Tuesday, though, was mostly daytrippers excited to get out once the lockdown was lifted. Almost all of the patio’s seats, set for social distancing, were full.
Mr. Morello recently added an outdoor fireplace and heaters to accommodate the outdoor seating. He predicts it’ll take a long time before the business is operating normally.
He’s being extra careful to make sure his staff is safe. He hasn’t had any trouble filling shifts, as the servers were ready to get back behind the bar.
During the lockdown, Corks ‘n Crowns sold bottles, but it wasn’t enough to run a business. Customers barely tip when they bought bottles the last couple months. Mr. Braly said he felt lucky when people tipped a dollar.
“But now they’re tipping better than ever,” Mr. Morello said.
He said business has been great recently and that customers have been happy to be back. (They were certainly happy Sunday, many dressed up for the occasion.)
Business excelled in the red tier at Corks ‘n Crowns. He said it felt back to normal, almost.
He longs for that day again, but he’s glad to have the patio open and sells tastings as well as wine by the glass.
Boutiques, while open under the stay-at-home order, have benefitted from the local foot traffic.
“The wineries push (customers) here, and we push them to the wineries. We definitely like to emphasize community, and if we don’t have something, we like refer them to the other boutiques,” Griffen Phillips, employee at The Shopkeepers, said.
“We love to share the love. We’ve all worked in this area of Santa Barbara for so long that it’s just nice to show the community love,” he said.
Christmas shopping helped the store make sales during the lockdown, but he’s glad now that the rest of the Funk Zone can thrive.
He’s seen both tourists and locals shopping — except during heavy rain when the street flooded up to the curb.
The Shopkeepers, at 137 Anacapa St. A, partnered with Moss Jacobs, senior vice president at Goldenvoice, to sell his collection of Santa Barbara Bowl concert posters to benefit the Bowl.
Posters range from $200 for a Beastie Boys poster to a $2,000 Velvet Revolver poster. Many have sold over the past two months, and customers continue to visit the store to look at the unique posters.
Whether a business had an eye-catching promotion or just a couple heaters on the patio, tourists and locals came to spend a little cash Sunday afternoon. Lines formed outside of bike and buggy rental businesses, and people waited for a latte at Dart Coffee.
It was still easy to keep six-feet apart from people, but there were plenty out shopping.