Tea: Buena Vida Tea Garden is one of the new businesses open during the Spring Fling. Matthew Hall

As flowers unfurl their petals and the chilly 60 degree winter days make way for the return of the 70s, Montana Avenue merchants are rolling out their goods and preparing for the return of the Spring Fling sidewalk sale this Saturday and Sunday.

What began as Covid era event designed to combine people’s greater comfort with shopping outdoors and merchants’ pressing need for revenue is now growing into a well loved community tradition. And while many merchants are still struggling from the financial impacts of the pandemic, there is no denying the renewed sense of life on Montana nor the plethora of new businesses taking root.

In the last year several eateries have popped up including popular LA bagel chain Sam’s Bagels, Japanese noodle joint Kai Ramen and cult favorite breakfast spot Salt’s Cure. In December 2021, Santa Monica local Mayra Vazquez opened Buena Vida Tea Bar & Garden, which serves a variety of loose leaf teas and treats in its beautiful hidden patio space. Just last month the gourmet Los Feliz market McCall’s Meat and Fish Co. opened a second location on Montana Ave.

While many retail stores left the street during the pandemic, several unique new stores have come to Montana, including shoe shop O’My Sole, beachwear boutique Last Resort and luxury candle store Saint Candles. Anyone looking to redecorate or spruce up their home will enjoy checking out the offerings at recently opened LoveSac furniture company, Casper Bedding, home goods store Goodies and flower shop Orchid Republic.

Many of these new businesses will be jumping in on the Spring Fling fun and offering a series of sales and package deals this weekend. Participating businesses can be identified by the bright pink balloons tied up outside their storefront, which have been generously donated by Montana Ave business Balloon Celebration.

Older businesses are also in need of some love as many merchants are now embarking upon the arduous process of paying back rent owed from earlier months of the pandemic. Many longtime Montana businesses will be hosting sales during Spring Fling weekend.

According to Heidi Dedrick, merchant outreach chair of the Montana Merchants Association, Splendid will be selling a range of 40 percent off clothes, Margaret O’Leary is offering a 60 percent off sale and Jane of Tarzana will be offering a 50 percent discount on a selection of customer favorite items. Dedrick also recommended people swing by Bardonna to celebrate spring, and the cafe’s recently approved liquor license, with a mimosa or Bloody Mary.

Dedrick envisions Spring Fling as a family friendly way for locals to enjoy Montana Avenue all day. Residents can come buy a new outfit for spring, freshen up their home with new decor, and enjoy a sweet treat, drink or meal with friends. Children will also enjoy tracking down the new sculpture installations on ten different trees along the street, which is part of a collaborative project between the Montana Merchants Association and the City’s Art of Recovery grant program.

Although they will not be open in time for the Spring Fling Sale, Dedrick said residents should come back soon for the launch of several exciting businesses. Perhaps one of the most eagerly anticipated openings is well known Valley sushi spot Brothers Sushi, which is in its final stages of health inspections. Other incoming stores include Brooklinen in the former Planet Blue storefront and a new electric bicycle shop in the former Chico’s location.