Between Santa Barbara’s two main commercial streets, State and Milpas, lies a Haley Corridor. Over the past 10 years, the area has gone from a passageway to a destination on its own. While often overlooked for the Funk Zone or Paseo Nuevo, the Corridor is beginning to make a name for itself, and just in time for the holidays.
Visitors new and old made their way to the Corridor on Saturday for Holidays on Haley, a progressive party celebrating businesses in the emerging area. The self-guided walking tour allowed guests to pick up a map, stroll the neighborhood and visit 16 different restaurants, wineries, breweries and shops.
“The idea is to bring attention to all different types of businesses,” said Michael Kramer, a chairman with the Haley Corridor Association. “We just want people to know it’s a retail area where people can safely walk, shop, and enjoy dinner, because I don’t know if they could’ve done a decade ago.”
As Haley Street has grown, it’s seen the rise new condos, apartments, pop-up shops, and more than a dozen new businesses over the past decade. Those businesses got together for their first progressive party back in June. After the success they saw, the neighborhood decided to bring the party back, this time with Christmas lights and Santa hats lining the Corridor.
Guests began at The Mill, a marketplace complete with Potek Winery, Third Window Brewing and Millworks Becker Showroom. There, lobster rolls and sparkling wine were served to the tune of live music.
“We’re having a blast,” said Geoff Slaff, a longtime Santa Barbara resident. “We’re looking forward to trying a little bit of everything as we go and to just supporting all the small businesses here.”
For featured shops like Catherine Gee, Holidays on Haley brought in some much needed exposure. While the boutique’s brand has been around town for more than three years, its storefront opened just a few months ago.
“An event like this brings out people that have probably never even seen the neighborhood before, let alone our storefront,” said Catherine Gee, owner of the boutique. “(The Corridor) is like this city’s best kept secret.”
The progressive party was as useful to newer residents as it was to newer businesses. Still exploring the area, Missy Furst discovered places she had never noticed before.
“You guy by these shops every day and don’t really have a reason to go in or are too busy, but this gives you a reason,” said Ms. Furst. “All of a sudden I have time to go and visit each one to see what they have to offer.”
Other visitors were not new to Haley Street at all, coming out to the event to support an area they’ve watched blossom. Paige Berse and Patricia Guerrera were happy to see their favorite breakfast spot getting so much attention.
“We grew up on Rose Café,” said Ms. Guerrera. “We’re just glad people are starting to see Haley Street like we do.”
Haley Street is already starting to attract some new regulars, like Mary Beth Myer, who went to the Corridor’s first progressive party last summer.
“I discovered so many new businesses, and now they’re my favorites,” said Ms. Meyer. “Something like this is better than a present. Instead of a shiny thing, I’ve found a bunch of new places I go.”