State Street Vacant Storefronts

Vacant storefront on State Street

Erika Carlos

Vacant storefront on State Street

Taking a walk down Santa Barbara's downtown area, it quickly becomes evident that Sate Street, in its current state, is suffering. The number of empty state street storefronts has been steadily increasing since 2015. A record high, State Street currently has 38 empty storefronts. Even during the recession, things weren’t this bad.

State Street’s problems are hardly unique. Across the country, brick-and-mortar business districts are feeling the squeeze of e-commerce competition, evolving consumer trends, and the general decline of shopping malls. Downtowns are trying to cope with functional obsolescence, as well as higher overhead from minimum-wage hikes and health-care mandates. But while other communities are adapting to this brave new retail world, Santa Barbara is struggling to keep up. Why?

Read:

The Fight for State Street | Our report on why Santa Barbara's main drag is suffering and suggestions on how to fix it

Top 10 Tips for Fixing State Street | Experts from across the country offer advice on improving Santa Barbara's main drag