Biz News: Wendy Foster Closes State Street Location, Isla Vista Co-Op Takes Over Cantwell’s and More

Wendy Foster at 1220 State Street in Santa Barbara (courtesy)

Local businesses are constantly evolving to keep up with new market demands, price changes, and customer satisfaction.

The past few months we’ve heard of a local clothing store shutting down its downtown shop after decades of being in business, a Southern California health giant continuing to make moves into the local arena, the expansion of a market co-op, several rebrands, and more.

Here’s are some of the recent changes on the Santa Barbara business scene:

Wendy Foster Closes State Street Location After 40 Years

The local fashion retailer announced the closure of its downtown Santa Barbara location this week.

After nearly 40 years at 1220 State Street, the owner cited the closure will take place at the end of May when its lease expires.

“With the ever changing climate of Santa Barbara’s downtown shopping destination, we feel that it is best for our business to focus on our other locations at this time, opening the door to future opportunities,” the company stated in a social media announcement.

The “Santa Barbara style” fashion brand will keep its other storefronts open: Wendy Foster Montecito, Wendy Foster Sportswear, Wendy Foster Los Olivos, Angel Montecito, and Upstairs at Pierre Lafond.

Isla Vista Food Co-Op Opens in Former Cantwell’s Market & Deli Location

Isla Vista Co-Op’s newly opened Downtown Market at 1533 State Street (courtesy)

The Isla Vista Food Co-op announced its Grand “Re-Opening” of their new Downtown Market with a ribbon cutting ceremony earlier this month.

The co-op is located at 1533 State St in Santa Barbara, the former home of Cantwell’s Market & Deli.

A new apartment complex and retail space development is proposed for this lot cornering State and Arrellaga Streets. The proposal includes a four-story mixed-use project combining 27 multi-family residential apartments and commercial buildings. The project involves demolition of the existing structures, although in September 2023 it was stated the market will close during construction and reopen in the new space that fronts the corner of State and Arrellaga Streets.

The Isla Vista Food Co-op is a community-owned, cooperative grocery store that was founded in 1972 by UC Santa Barbara students and neighbors who wanted to ensure that the community would always have neighborhood access to high quality and affordable food, and so local farmers and producers would have a dedicated store to sell to.

After 50 years at 6575 Seville Road in Isla Vista, The Isla Vista Food Co-op expanded their circle to this new IVFC Downtown Market.

Heal the Ocean Founder Steps Down After 26 Years

From left to right: Heather Hudson, Charles Vinick, Supervisor Laura Capps, Hillary Hauser, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jonathan Wygant, Carol Behar. Back row: Thomas Dabney. (Photo by Gale Osherenko)

This past March, Heal the Ocean‘s Founder and Executive Director, Hillary Hauser, announced she will be stepping down from her director role but will remain on the nonprofit’s Board of Directors as Chairman.

Hauser, who was named Environmental Defense Center’s 2024 Environmental Hero, helmed the environmental group for 26 years.

“Thanks to the support of this community, Heal the Ocean has a powerful track record promoting ocean health, with a strong team of staff and board members. It’s my dream that HTO grows and continues on like this forever, and it’s the perfect time to seek out our next leader,” said Hauser.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Laura Capps honored Hauser with a Resolution from the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on May 7 honoring the millions of dollars HTO raised for the upgrade of wastewater treatment plants, collaboration with the Carpinteria Sanitary District on the 15-year Rincon septic-to-sewer project, and many other infrastructure projects and important research for the city, county, and state.

Accompanying Hauser were HTO Directors Jean-Michel Cousteau and Charles Vinick, who, as managers of both the Cousteau Society and the Ocean Futures Society, established the 501c3 status for Heal the Ocean to initiate the organization in August 1988.

“The work is never over,” Hauser stated, “and my job now is to provide a strong oar and ensure that the HTO ship remains big, strong, and mighty as it sails forward.”

Heal the Ocean is currently searching for its new Executive Director.

Hotel Santa Barbara Begins Series of Cosmetic Improvements

Rendering of upgrades to be made at Hotel Santa Barbara's lobby (courtesy)
Rendering of upgrades to be made at Hotel Santa Barbara’s lobby (courtesy)

The historic 75-key boutique Hotel Santa Barbara, located on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, will begin a series of improvements to its guest rooms and first floor meeting space.

Updates to guest rooms will include new furniture and carpeting, freshly painted walls, and cosmetic upgrades in the en suite bathrooms, along with new bedding, bath products, and in-room amenities. 

 Hotel Santa Barbara is an iconic part of this downtown,” said Chris Cline, General Manager of Hotel Santa Barbara. “We’re eager to reveal these improvements to our guests, which not only pay homage to the hotel’s rich history, but also transform our spaces into havens of luxury and comfort, while preserving their timeless charm.”  

Rendering of upgrades to be made at Hotel Santa Barbara's lobby (courtesy)
Rendering of upgrades to be made at Hotel Santa Barbara’s lobby (courtesy)

The conference-style meeting space, situated adjacent to the lobby on the hotel’s first floor, will receive updated amenities and stylish furnishings tailored to business guests. Future upgrades will also be made to the hotel’s historic lobby. 

In addition, Hotel Santa Barbara is giving back during this improvement series process by donating 75 dressers to Dignity Moves, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to ending street homelessness in Santa Barbara.

Rendering of upgrades to be made at Hotel Santa Barbara's guest rooms (courtesy)
Rendering of upgrades to be made at Hotel Santa Barbara’s guest rooms (courtesy)

The hotel will remain fully operational throughout the duration of the improvements, which is slated for completion this fall. 

Crafter’s Library Issues Plea to Help Keep the Doors Open

The Crafters Library in downtown Santa Barbara (courtesy)

Founder Andrew Rawls opened The Crafter’s Library during Memorial Day weekend of 2021 in the La Arcada Plaza as a DIY project studio and co-working space.

The space, located at 9 E. Figueroa Street in downtown Santa Barbara, has welcomed makers and makers in training for classes, parties, and private events. With the motto “anyone can craft,” the space has been dedicated to the idea that no matter who you are or your perceived skill level, you can make something extraordinary.

On April 30th Rawls sent out a plea to his email list stating the library is on the verge of closing its doors.

“I am doing everything I can to make sure that we can stay that safe space for people of all walks of like to try something new. But to do that, I need your help. We need to raise about $15,000 in the next two weeks to put ourselves in a good position to keep our doors open,” Rawls stated.

To support this local business Rawls suggested purchasing gift cards, hosting events in their space, sign up for a class or enroll your kids in their summer camps, and purchase their retail goods.

Learn more at 

Island View Outfitters Opens a New Retail Space on Upper State Street

Local screen printers and UCSB/Isla Vista focused retail shop, Island View Outfitters, opened a new location in Santa Barbara’s Uptown neighborhood this past March.

Located at 3040 State St., next to BevMo, their retail location will sell a variety of shirts, hats, and other merch while also serving as office space for the company’s print division, High Desert Print Co.

“We are so stoked to be officially open on Upper State, and can’t wait to meet more amazing folks in this funky little community,” the company stated.

For the time being, their new location will be open Mon-Fri 10a-5p.

UCLA Health Opens New Downtown Santa Barbara Office

UCLA Health opens a new office on E. Victoria Street in downtown Santa Barbara (courtesy)

UCLA Health has opened a new location in Santa Barbara, housing primary & specialty care and cancer care.

The Santa Barbara Primary & Specialty Care Clinic , which includes primary care and rheumatology with additional specialties to be added in the future, is the third UCLA Health primary care location in the area – the others are located in Montecito and Goleta .

The UCLA Health Cancer Care clinic was previously located at 309 Quinto Street in Santa Barbara. The two clinics are located at 111 East Victoria Street in Santa Barbara. The Primary & Specialty Care services are on the 2nd floor while the UCLA Health Cancer Care clinic and its dedicated infusion center are on the 3rd floor. Cancer services offered at the clinic include medical oncology, hematology, genetics, breast cancer care as well as access to UCLA clinical trials and the psychosocial support services provided by The Simms Mann Center for Integrative Oncology.

“We feel extremely grateful that UCLA Health has been embraced so enthusiastically by the Santa Barbara community” said Adam Cavallero, MD, ambulatory regional medical director and primary care physician at UCLA Health. “The new office on Victoria Street will significantly expand our available space for patient care and provide a central location for our generalists and specialists, right in the heart of downtown.”

The Victoria Street Mission-style building is located just off State Street in downtown Santa Barbara and offers free on-site parking.

The UCLA Health Primary & Specialty Care Clinic is open Mon. – Fri. from 8 am to 5 pm. To make an appointment or for more information, visit or call (805) 564-3233.

Clay Studio Rebrands as MAKER House

Class at MAKER House (courtesy)

Clay Studio, located at 1351 Holiday Hill Rd in Goleta, announced this week it has rebranded its community arts studio to MAKER House, a hub for creativity and connection through the process of making.

Executive Director Matt Mitros and his team stated this change is part of their ongoing commitment to create and sustain an inclusive arts center that promotes exploration, innovation, and self-expression.

“This rebranding is not just about a new name. It represents our renewed dedication to the transformative medium of clay as well as other sculptural and dimensional materials to come in the future. Our new identity aligns more closely with our core values and the impact we aim to create in our community and differentiates the experience we will create at Maker House,” the company stated.

Pura Luna Apothecary Closed Storefront and Rebrands

Pura Luna Apothecary in Santa Barbara (courtesy)

In January the beloved small business, Pura Luna Apothecary, announced it would close its storefront and embark on a new beginning. The shop served as a community gathering space while also selling everything from custom teas and curated plants to books and healing crystals.

Owners Ashe and Christin closed their 633 Chapala Street storefront after six years to shift towards event and retreat experiences.

“We want to thank each and every one of you that has supported us over the years. It has truly been a pleasure and an honor to serve you all. We also want to show deep gratitude to our staff over the years, as we couldn’t have done this without their hard work and dedication. We love you all,” the owners stated on their website.

Ashe’s new venture can be found at


Written by lauren

Lauren is the Publisher of She enjoys short walks on the beach, interesting facts about bees, and any kind of homemade cookie.

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