In 2017, Santa Barbara was devastated by the Thomas Fire. Shortly thereafter, horrific mudslides would go on to take many lives in Montecito. Living in that community with 3 young children, and having to evacuate on 3 separate occasions was not only unsettling, but frightening as well. Fortunately, that tragedy served to draw everyone closer together, and the community's collective response in providing aid was truly remarkable.
In mid-December, in the midst of the fires, I walked out of my office in downtown Santa Barbara to find the streets empty. Imagine my surprise when I realized that there was not a single person to be seen during the busiest shopping season of the year. As an entrepreneur, I knew the effect of this would be devastating for many families, as it would impact many small businesses...and sadly, it did.
My need to do something wouldn't go away. I kept thinking that somehow I needed to create an event, an occasion, something that would not only allow people to recover their lost income, but also assist the community in healing. Thus, the Night Market concept was born.
After securing a lease on the old Macy's building in Paseo Nuevo, the Santa Barbara Night Market was launched to the skepticism of many. Creating a European style night market in an empty Macy's building? In a struggling retail location? At night?!!! We were told it was a recipe for disaster.
The Santa Barbara Night Market premiered on Black Friday 2018, and we endeavored to remain open until the December 29 end date. The building was outfitted as a winter wonderland with magical lighting, fine food vendors, a cocktail bar, sophisticated wineries, nightly live music, and over one hundred small retail businesses. The result? 250,000 visitors and over $6 million in sales. The Santa Barbara Night Market created the largest traffic flow through the mall since it was built in the 80’s. It was a remarkable success.
The market would go on to be awarded the "2018 Entrepreneur of the Year Award" for Santa Barbara, voted in the top 10 ThingsTo Do During the 2018 Holidays by USA Today, featured on Fox News and in Alaska Airlines magazine, and highlighted on countless tv and radio stations. This year, the event will be bigger than ever imagined. We are installing an indoor ice skating rink on the second floor, and will have more than three hundred food, alcohol, and retail vendors present. Truly, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
It is our hope that you become a vital part of our community and success story. Save the date and join us for the grand opening Nov 29. You won't want to miss it!
Glen started out in entertainment, and has an extensive background in business and social engagement. Many years ago, he founded the Crazy Store retail group, which has become a global sensation with over 500 stores worldwide.
Glen may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org