Longtime Coast Village Store to Relocate

The staff of Letter Perfect, the stationery boutique that has operated on Coast Village Road for almost 25 years, confirmed Tuesday that the store would be moving at the end of the summer. Staff members said the store would not be renewing its rental agreement for the 1,650-square-foot space when the lease expires on September 1.

The store’s leasing agent, Mike Chenoweth, whose father, David, owns the building, said he had informed Letter Perfect owner Leslie Ryan last year that he would not be renewing her lease. The rent for the space, Chenoweth said, will increase to $6.25 per square foot, approximately double the amount since the rate was renegotiated almost 10 years ago.

Letter Perfect is the latest casualty in a larger ongoing trend of Montecito businesses with longtime legacies that have either moved or closed their doors. Last week, Letter Perfect’s neighbor, Ibiza Hair Salon, moved to Anapamu Street after about 15 years on Coast Village Road. In 2006, the Montecito Pet Shop and its pet grooming salon relocated operations to the Mesa, while Video Visions, in the Coast Village Shopping Center, and Montecito Printing Center, on Coast Village Circle, both shuttered their doors last summer. Judy Foreman, a Coast Village commercial property owner, predicted that changing market conditions and increasing rents would make it difficult for small businesses to stay alive on Coast Village unless they have “deep pockets, staying power, selection and quality.”

Chenoweth acknowledged that Coast Village was evolving away from its “small, rural community” nature, but he said it wouldn’t gain the same kind of corporate presence that has befallen several other business areas, such as Downtown Santa Barbara. Coast Village, he said, is a “niche market” that remains attractive for a lot of “longtime family businesses.”