How Quickly We Forget
September 6, 2009
Once upon a time, there were fewer department stores in Santa Barbara. Two of them were at La Cumbre Plaza. One of them was Sears -- where America Shops -- and the other was Robinson's. When Paseo Nuevo opened up in 1990, two new stores were added to the mix, Nordstrom and The Broadway.
I. Magnin was also around then.
It was where the bankruptcy court is now.
Edhat subscribers tell us that before La Cumbre, there was a J.C. Penney on State.
Montgomery Ward was on the corner of State and Figueroa.
And, Woolworth's (maybe just a five and dime) was at the corner of State and Anapamu.
Kmart has been in Goleta for a long time, but some people think of them as a different type of animal.
We seem to be struggling to get this all correct. Subscriber input would be helpful.
In 1993, Robinson's merged with May Company to become Robinson's-May. In 1996, Federated Department Stores acquired Broadway's parent company, Carter-Hawley, and the store in Paseo Nuevo was changed to a Macy's. In 2005, Federated acquired May Company. A year later, Santa Barbara had a second Macy's at La Cumbre.
In 2007, Federated decided to change the name of its entire company to Macy's Inc.
Saks Fifth Avenue opened up on the corner of State and Carrillo in the late 1990's.
Today, the La Cumbre shopping center is a quiet little shrine, dedicated to the era of materialistic excess that existed from the early 1980's until about a year ago. These days, if you time it right, you can walk the entire length of the mall without seeing a single person. Even on the weekends, there are just a handful of retro shoppers buying retail.
At one end of La Cumbre is a door to Macy's, with an unpretentious door map at its feet. There are two other entrances to Macy's; one from the Vons parking lot, and the other from the parking lot off Hope Ave. On the side of Macy's without an entrance, there is a locked glass door with blacked-out windows. On the ground before this door-that's-not-a-door (and is not ajar) is a doormat with a big R on it. The R is for Robinson's, of course.
The dedicated staff of edhat.com is not sure if, or what, this State Street facing door was ever used for. One subscriber playing the contest this week mentioned a cafe. We are sure readers will tell us more (just like they knew about the mysterious Hawaiian tile at the other end of the mall). Today, it appears if the door were to open, it would open up somewhere behind the dressing rooms in the Men's department.
There were only six Edhat subscribers who told us where the R was. Five of the six only identified a door to Robinson's at La Cumbre. IndyClear told us which door. He/She wins an Edhat t-shirt, pickupable at Santa Barbara Arts, a small local shop with only one door, located in La Arcada Plaza.
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