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Santa Barbara Outfitters
updated: Jan 08, 2013, 2:31 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Is Santa Barbara Outfitters really closing? Is this an effect of the REI opening up?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 361470 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 02:37 PM

yes and yes


 COMMENT 361471 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 02:39 PM

Yay, we're now 2 steps (SB Outfitters and the hobby shop) closer to being just like Oxnard!

When can we get rid of that boring old Arlington theater and put in a mega-plex with an arcade and ice skating rink?


 COMMENT 361472 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 02:39 PM

What!? bummer!


 COMMENT 361473 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 02:40 PM



 COMMENT 361482 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 02:55 PM

Yes, and from what I understand, REI isn't doing very well. Hopefully they will relocate to State St.!

Goodbye SB Outfitters. You will be missed!


 COMMENT 361484P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 03:00 PM

Everyone wants the old stores to stay, but no one shops in them! Shop local, buy local (including Edhat), or say goodbye to local and hello to chains.


 COMMENT 361494 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 03:26 PM

I always felt REI had over extended itself by coming into the SB market that could just about support the stores it had. Now....? We'll lose both. A little like Borders placing a store across the street from Barnes & Noble... But who cares, as long as the shareholders get their ROI.


 COMMENT 361500 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 03:36 PM

I wonder if it really is REI that pushed them out because I heard they weren't doing that great before REI even opened. And I noticed a year or so ago that they had a semi-permanent sale on a lot of their clothing, even the in-season stuff.

Too bad for the local jobs lost, but on the other hand they were wildly more expensive than other places. I wonder if Prana will stay or if they have some kind of lease deal with them.


 COMMENT 361503 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 03:41 PM

Mountain Air is really picking up the pace. I had to shop at REI and Mountain Air and I gotta say Mountain Air really won me over. Mountain Air will match any price REI has and they are locally owned.


 COMMENT 361506 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 03:43 PM

494 - Perhaps you know nothing about strategic business locationing, so we'll forgive you. Opening a Borders across the street from another Borders is stupid. Opening a Borders across the street from a Barnes and Noble is smart business sense.

Google "Concentration of Competing Retail Stores" for a lengthy research paper about this.

BTW, the closing of both book stores had nothing to do with their proximity.


 COMMENT 361507 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 03:45 PM

That's not a great location on that corner though. Where do you park to run in quick and get a compass, a shirt, a map? Bible Book store didn't do well there--and whatever was there before I don't remember.


 COMMENT 361516 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 04:02 PM

I really really miss I. Magnins.


 COMMENT 361522 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 04:08 PM

506, Starbucks will open stores across the street from one another in urban centers as people don't like to cross the street. True story. However, I'm sure 494 appreciates your largesse. I know I would.


 COMMENT 361525 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 04:13 PM

I love Outfitters and I loved Outfooters too!...I am a big believer in shopping local, supporting small businesses. This is very upsetting....sigh.


 COMMENT 361538 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 04:39 PM

What??? No!!!! I love that store! I've spent so much money there this year. Very upsetting. Does anyone know when they're closing?


 COMMENT 361541 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 04:46 PM

Probably because of the bad economy(still),people are not shopping very much,including local businesses. The chains can float the stores that aren't doing well,but only up to a point. Then they leave. Witness Border's and others. There probably will be very few 'mom and pop'
stores left in the years to come. Mostly just yearly or less trinket and such stores...


 COMMENT 361550 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 05:05 PM

I shop at both stores, and have no complaints about either. They will not put each other out of business. The common denominator is Amazon. Go into each store and see fellow shoppers on their smartphones comparing prices with online sellers. Lowest price trumps most local loyalties.


 COMMENT 361553 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 05:17 PM

Well, it is sad to see a business close and the loss of the jobs.

BUT, Santa Barbara Outfitters isn't exactly the best outdoor store. I've been there twice and will say that I won't miss it. The store is cramped with way too much stuff, prices are off the charts and the service leaves a lot to be desired.

Mountain Air Sports gets most of my business.

As for REI, I love their annual used gear sales, but beyond that I am not impressed with the service and the selection isn't that great either. Besides, their parking lot is always full and yet no one is in the store??


 COMMENT 361556 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 05:24 PM

507, I think there's lots of non-lot spaces just a few blocks away and you can find a 90 minute or 75 minute zone easily at most times of the day/week/year.

I think maybe people just don't want to walk more than a block to their destination.

If I want to stop by a shop in that block of State, I just drive over to SB Street or go down Anapamu near Chapala. Two blocks, almost always find a space there!


 COMMENT 361563 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 05:59 PM

Well then, Mountain Air needs to stock more outdoor wear. Outfitters has always had a great selection for all seasons! I'm not buying clothes at REI.


 COMMENT 361564P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 06:01 PM

We walked by SBO shortly after 6 on Sunday and saw the 40% off sign inside. A tourist couple from Orange County was standing at the doors looking back in for one last time. They remarked how sad it is that Santa Barbara's downtown is turning into just another strip mall with local merchants falling away because of massive rent increases which only large chains and cookie-cutter franchises can pay. Then they asked us for directions to the nearest Starbucks.


 COMMENT 361575 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 06:35 PM

Will miss SB outfitters, another SB shop gone! At least Magellans is still in town, even though their corporate has moved to Colorado they still have their great shop in town.


 COMMENT 361587 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-08 07:33 PM

Sorry to see them go but glad REI has moved here and agree the problem is probably tax-free online choices than fellow bricks and mortar retailer competition. Too bad California is so attached to their sales tax since I also live in sales-tax-free Oregon and retailers seem to do better there.


 COMMENT 361620 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-09 06:40 AM

The owners of the building doubled the rent on SB outfitters, so both SB Outfitters and Prana are closing - there will be a bank in its place in the near future.


 COMMENT 361625 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-09 07:04 AM

Support local businesses? Start with the landlords! I heard Santa Barbara outfitters rent has been doubled every 2 years! That's a hard way to keep a place open. Rumor has it that a bank is going in.


 COMMENT 361640 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-09 07:52 AM

I've spent quite a bit of money here over the years and always found the staff to be helpful and the selection to be pretty darn good for a fairly small store. They will be missed. the bummer will be once REI inevitably closes and we are back at square one. (Mountain Air is great for winter sports, but lacks a lot of the climbing and other back-country gear Outfitters and REI sell)


 CALTEX agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-09 08:04 AM

It has to do with the landlord and their lease. Landlord wants to be able to lease both the downstairs and the upstairs.


 COMMENT 361646 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-09 08:06 AM

Ditto that - SBO was facing an extreme rent increase from a landlord that has been less than nice to work with. After much deliberation, they decided they'd rather close shop. Apparently the owner has a big bank interested in that location.


 COMMENT 361653 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-09 08:25 AM

I tried really hard to support SB Outfitters, but they had the most odd selection of gear. I would almost force myself to buy something I didnt exactly need to stay out of REI.

Whomever on here said REI is not doing well...is plain wrong.


 COMMENT 361656 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-09 08:30 AM

Went shopping at REI just before Christmas. I Did not even know it was there until someone referred me as a place to find snowboards. Terrible location terrible parking lot and access. What were they thinking other than low rent (maybe)? Bottom line was I wound up buying two sets of snow boards and matching boots at Big 5 sporting goods store at five points for 1/2 the price they wanted at REI.


 COMMENT 361663 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-09 08:51 AM

I'll miss SBO...was very convenient when we lived downtown.

SBO did have an advantage over the online retailers in that you could pick up "last minute" trip items, albeit usually cheap items, like camping gas, maps, etc...but more importantly you can dial in the fit of your gear. I tried to buy my barefoot running shoes online and realized after ordering and returning 3 pairs that I needed to try them on and buy locally.

The prices were high because they carried high quality gear (all better than North Face) and were charging retail...as REI would do in between sales. I would agree that Mountain Air is in a better location and are able to provide gear based on the season due to their size...great selection of ski gear.

Thanks SBO, the gear that I picked up there should last a very long time because it was quality and not made in China.


 COMMENT 361665 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-09 09:00 AM

I bought some Icebreaker merino wool clothing from SBO over the years and while it is not cheap, it is heirloom grade. You got what you paid for there.


 COMMENT 361672 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-09 09:07 AM

Very sad. But the SBO owners are eager to move on to their next adventure, I hear. The owners of the building doubled the rent, and that's one of the main reasons SBO is closing, evidently. Going to put a bank in that space. Mom and Pop retail is a killer. Sad for us locals, tho, because SBO was stocked with all top of the line merchandise, and how refreshing that it wasn't part of a multinational chain.


 COMMENT 361686 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-09 09:35 AM

Sorry to see a local business go under. In the last few years I found it impossible to navigate that store, it was always so hard to find anything, the signage was chaotic, the salespeople cheery but not very helpful, so overall it was not, for me, a positive experience. I gave up 2 years ago & now shop SB Outfitters who seem to 'get' what retail is about. So what national chain will go into that terrific space, its a real shame.....


 CLIFFDWELLER1 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-09 10:07 AM



 COMMENT 361708 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-09 10:35 AM

I lost my business lease on lower State after 18 years when the owner reconfigured the building to bring in REI. I never could figure out why he didn't run the REI all the way up to have an entrance on State, giving them the prestigious address and the ability to have freeway exposure signage. He kicked me out because he said the REI didn't want to be next to a tattoo studio, something the REI manager later checked with Seattle corporate and said was not true. In any case, it is now a cavernous space with a poor location, and why anyone would patronize them over online retailers with vastly better selection of merchandise is beyond me. I predict they will not last, and by the time they pull out they will have caused the demise of smaller local stores and all there will be left will be online shopping.


 EARO65 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-09 12:11 PM

Boarders had declared bankruptsy in England a few years before they did so in the US. They were in trouble where ever they were located. Their demise was expected, but our landlords are ruining our city, far more so then the raggedy souls who bother people. If I were spending money on a vacation, I would go to Eugene, Oregon.


 COMMENT 361744 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-09 12:27 PM

Bring back Granite Stairway Mountaineering....


 COMMENT 362342 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 06:41 PM

SB Outfitters was a gem, notwithstanding their prices. The selection was always more than adequate, always offering a great shopping experience. It's not always about price. When you buy a mercedes, you will pay for it. Same is true with quality brands. Now, not in the same scale, but don;t forget The Travel Store of Santa Barbara across the street, it has been there for 29 years and is local all the way! They can;t match the sheer amount of merchandise but you can always find local maps, hiking gear and lots of travel stuff. 29 years deserves a look by locals, no? Works for me again and again! Still, will miss SBO. Shop local!!


 COMMENT 362373 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 08:35 PM

342, how can something be a gem notwithstanding prices? Doesn't a local company need to have competitive or fair prices in order to survive (short or long term?) I don't mind paying premium prices for good quality brands. I do it all the time. What I don't like seeing are prices that are higher than virtually any other place carrying that brand (local stores and chains included.)

Their customer service was hit and miss. Sometimes you'd get the best service, the nicest people helping you. Other times you'd get ignored while they chatted about their weekend or were on personal calls. I don't get how any of this is a gem? An okay local business that I will miss? YES. Absolutely! I am sad they are over. But they weren't a gem. They had faults and they might be why they're going out of business, not the locals who didn't shop there or somehow didn't *understand* quality brands.


 COMMENT 362799P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-12 11:24 AM

I heard the landlord jacked up their rent.


 COMMENT 372675 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 06:03 PM



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