Thankfully, the Daily Press can once again report that there are more arrivals than departures in the ever-changing, fluid environment that is the Santa Monica retail landscape.
According to Andrew Thomas, CEO of Downtown Santa Monica, Inc., “The Promenade is 71.4 percent occupied, not including Picklepop, Herschel’s and two other recent leases. The Downtown occupancy rate is 90 percent, so much greater than the Promenade.”
As Downtown unofficially competes with Main Street and even Montana Avenue for the best retail stores, bars and restaurants, it’s ultimately a win-win scenario for the residents of Santa Monica. Long may it continue.
Vancouver-based clothing and luggage producer Herschel Supply has opened an outlet at 1450 Third Street Promenade. Inventory includes apparel and accessories, just in time for the imminent return to school, although the specific opening date is still TBD.
“Opening later this summer, our Santa Monica location will be Herschel’s first store in California. We knew the world-famous 3rd Street Promenade shopping center, which is located just steps from the beach, was the perfect backdrop to welcome our community into what Herschel looks like in real life,” said Niko George, VP, Global Retail Operations at Herschel Supply. “The store introduces our design-driven style through our wide selection of products which range from backpacks and travel accessories to luggage and apparel. We couldn’t be more excited to open another community hub for locals and visitors to come together.”
Previously at this address was Aldo, the shoe and accessories store, which has now moved to where Brandy Melville used to be, at 1413 Third Street, immediately next door to the Apple store. Tragically, in this game of Musical Chairs: The Promenade Edition, Brandy Melville is no more.
Also on the Promenade, the impressive 10,000 sq ft space that used to be the Adidas store at 1231 Third Street (Adidas is now at 1337 Third Street) is set to be reworked into an indoor pickleball club, complete with a bar and chill out areas. What will be called PicklePop , this innovative indoor exercise initiative is the brainchild of Stephanie McCaffrey and Erin Robertson.
McCaffrey hails from an impressive sporting background; she’s a former professional soccer player in the National Women’s Soccer League, first for the Boston Breakers and then the Chicago Red Stars and then earned her first senior cap in 2015. Robertson is a fashion designer who also hails from the east coast. She attended the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and won season 15 of the Emmy Award-winning reality television series Project Runway in 2016.
“We signed the lease and we’ll be up and running by August 20,” McCaffrey says. “The shortest length of time I think we’ll be here for is six months, but it might be years.”
And another indoor pickleball court has snuck in under the radar in the city of Santa Monica. Called Pickletown , this hidden gem will feature both an indoor and outdoor court, together with two dedicated training areas complete with ball machines.
From the outside, looking at the front of the site at 1431 Lincoln Blvd, it really doesn’t look like much. In fact, it doesn’t look like there’s anything there at all. Enter Ilene Feldman and Mary Pat Faley. The former is a sportswear marketing specialist with decades of experience and the latter is a former US Professional Tennis Association pro, host on the Tennis Channel, author and keynote speaker on any subject as long as it’s tennis.
One of the unique selling points of Pickletown is that given Faley’s extensive history with tennis and the fact that she’s a certified pro-level coach in pickleball, she’s readily available to give lessons, instruct and teach, in addition to being able to simply rent the court space to play and practice.
“It’s truly a sport for all ages,” Faley says. “I envision Pickletown as a place that grandparents can come and play with their children and their grandchildren. There’s no other sport where you can get three generations having a great time playing on one court.”
A stunningly beautiful Italian-themed market and wine bar called Sogno Toscano has opened at 1512 Montana Avenue. Originating in the Tuscany region of central Italy, the team behind it have two other outlets in Chelsea and West Village in Manhattan, but this is their first foray outside of New York City.
A new summer clothing pop-up has appeared at 1406 Montana Avenue, offering a variety of carefully curated swimwear styles and accompanying accessories. Called Laya , the store is a labor of love from South African-born fashion designer Witney Tucker.
“We’ve been around for about five years online,” says Tucker. “And a venture into the real world and bricks and mortar is always daunting, so we wanted to see what the reaction was going to be like.”
She says that despite this initial outlet only remaining until the end of September, she’s hopeful it will lead to something more permanent.
“It’s really hard to convey the quality, fit and fabric of a swimsuit without having people actually feel it and hold it in their hands. So, this was very much an experiment and so far, it’s proved to be very successful, Tucker said. “But it was necessary to include other brands in addition to my own. We wanted to create a platform for other emerging designers and create more of a one-stop vacation shop, so every brand is sourced by me in the store. They’re all direct to the consumer and everything is always changing.”