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Some Central, South Coast Businesses Say With Pandemic Easing, Sales Picking Up

(KCLU photo)
Some South Coast stores say they've seen a big spike in sales in recent weeks

Some owners optimistic about summer sales

As the impacts of the pandemic have eased in California, business has picked up at some South Coast stores.

Alan Howard has owned Antique Alley, in downtown Santa Barbara, for nearly three decades.

Howard says 2020 was rough. But, it wasn’t just because people were staying at home, and were preoccupied with the COVID-19 crisis. He says it was hard for the two dozen plus dealers who have space in the antique mall to get merchandise. He says people were afraid to have estate sales, or to have dealers come to their homes to buy items.

But, on a Saturday night, his store is busy.

Maurice DeMeeno says the visit to the antique shop with his wife, Heidi is part of an impromptu getaway from Los Angeles. He says it feels good to be out again. They bought three antiques from the store.

Howard isn’t complaining. He says after a slow start, 2021 is on track to have better sales than pre-pandemic 2019.

(KCLU photo)
The Antique Alley store in Santa Barbara is reporting strong sales this spring, after being hit hard by the pandemic in 2020

Howard thinks the region is being helped by people foregoing long trips to stay closer to home. And, he says his antique store is being heled by the temporary conversion of much of lower State Street into a pedestrian and bike promenade, which means he’s getting more passerby business.

He's optimistic about the important tourist season, and thinks the region will do well this summer and fall.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.