An eclectic consignment house with furniture, mattresses, art, jazz music, fashion wine, auctions and other events comes to the iconic Sears Building in La Cumbre Plaza.
Glenn Novack, owner of Move Miss Daisy in Goleta, and a business partner signed a 10-year lease to take over the 17,000 square foot first floor. Sears closed in early 2019.
“I can see people coming in after a nice dinner at Lure and having a glass of wine, never leaving the parking lot,” Novack said. “Anything that brings people to this area which has been kind of a ghost town for a long time is helpful. It’s a new added attraction.”
It plans to open in early March.
The future of the Sears Building and surrounding property, which has three owners, has been the subject of intense speculation. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, there was talk of using it as an overflow location for COVID-19 patient beds. Owners of the property have also talked about the site for a major housing development. Others have suggested that the parking lot on the upper stream could be used as a site for a tent camp for the homeless.
Sears had long been a top destination in La Cumbre Plaza, a place where working-class people could shop for everything from new-school clothes and jewelry to beds and refrigerators. Before online shopping and the success of Amazon decimated big-box retailers, Sears was one of the only affordable places to shop for generations of families. But with buying habits permanently disrupted, the site is now seen as prime property for future generations.
The housing proposal is the most likely long-term future use of the entire site. Novack said he has a 10-year lease, but the landlords have an option after seven years. For at least the next seven years, the Sears Building will house Miss Daisy’s consignment and auction house.
The consignment store will include home furnishings, antiques, art, rugs and carpets, decor, fashion, housewares, lighting, souvenirs, patio furniture, china and pottery, tables, exercise equipment, musical instruments and much more. Novack, a musician who plays in a jazz band, is also planning live music with wine and seating. People can sit in consignment sofas or special seats for events.
Novack also provides mixers, a stage with professional sound and lighting.
“It will be a professional entertainment venue,” he said. “I want this place to be packed.”
Novack spent 16 hours a day inside the building, working with crews on the renovation.
Setting up and staging events is old hat for Novack. He was working in event organization when he suddenly became his mother’s carer, a job he held for about 13 years. In the process, he said, he learned about downsizing and renovating homes for the elderly. She is now at Samarkandbut his consignment business involves helping older people move into smaller homes and finding them the right furniture.
It’s a good time to be in the consignment business, Novack said. Due to COVID-19, many people were buying used furniture due to shipping delays. The housing boom also helped, with people all over the south coast buying homes and needing furniture to fill them.
The Sears Building is in the neighborhood of Santa Barbara City Councilman Eric Friedman.
“With the planning process for the future of La Cumbre Plaza expected to be a multi-year effort, it is essential that the former Sears building does not remain vacant in the meantime, as this is a point of anchor for the place as a whole,” Friedman said. “The new consignment store is a positive development for La Cumbre Plaza and will bring new energy and public interest.”
He said the store will meet everyone’s needs.
“With a unique business model for the region that includes a traditional shopping experience as well as one-time events such as estate sales, live auctions and fashion shows, the public has the opportunity to stay engaged and visit room for new events, experiences and one-time purchases,” Friedman said. “This flexibility meets the needs of the upper State Street neighborhood and La Cumbre Plaza as a whole, especially during this time of change.”
The Louis John fashion boutique, which includes clothing, handbags, jewelry, accessories and candles, is also part of the lineup of attractions. Fashion shows will be regularly organized.
Part of the activity will include “Consign For a Cause”, where people can donate items and sales will benefit local nonprofits.
Novack said the store will be the largest consignment store in three counties.
“We’re going to have a lot of big chunks,” he said. “Montecito will have a place to shop. If you’re looking for a couch, we’ll have 50.”