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"If You Build It For Locals, Tourists Will Come": Businesses Adjust Aim In Embattled Downtown

About 200 interested businessowners, commercial realtors, and civic leaders put their heads together in Santa Barbara Wednesday evening to tackle the problem of revitalizing downtown.

The UCSB Economic Forecast hosted the event. A consultant with the group said that State Street has about 80% of its core businesses that need improvement to keep up with changing times.

A study also showed, however, that online and storefront sales are not necessarily in competition because shoppers enjoy the experience of being able to try on merchandise and see them in person.

A mantra that seemed to resonate was that "if you build it for locals, tourists will come, but if you build it for tourists, locals won't necessarily come."

The group will also sponsor a match meeting between prospective businesses and landlords later this month, for what would essentially be a type of business speed-dating.

Andy worked at KCLU from 2016 until 2022.
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