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State Street restaurants hope they’re “primed” for a boost after Amazon’s downtown arrival

oppi'z
Kacey Drescher/KEYT Photo

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - From the American Riviera to Silicon Beach 2.0, Amazon has everyone buzzing. 

Hey Alexa. Is Amazon’s new office on State Street open?

Yes, it is.

More than 100 Amazon employees moved into their new downtown office on Monday.

“Usually we are closed on Monday. For that opening we decided to be here,” said Guido Oppizzi, Oppi’z Owner. 

Guido Oppizzi has high hopes for the new tenants in the old Saks Fifth Avenue Store just down the street from his State Street restaurant.

“There will be 250 people working there and I really hope that that they will leave the area, the block and we can have them here at lunch or happy hour after. We have a special deal for them and I hope everything will be good,” said Oppizzi. 

The owner of Oppi’z says the 1000 block of State Street is suffering and he’s optimistic that an influx of Alexa engineers will help turn things around.

“This block has more banks than any other block in town, we have eight or nine banks just on this block. That makes it a little less attractive for tourists and residents,” said Oppizzi. 

An Amazon spokesperson says “we’re excited to grow our teams in Santa Barbara – a city with a strong talent pool, high quality of life, and innovative culture. “

“That’s 300 people that will come out after work, happy hour, hopefully, stick around for dinner. We’re looking forward to partnering with them, hopefully, they might need some catering,” said Warren Butler, Manager of Chase Restaurant. 

Like Oppizzi, Warren Butler at the Chase Restaurant also hopes to see a boost and says so far, Amazon is being a good neighbor.

“They wouldn’t come to Santa Barbara if they didn’t wanna be a part of it. They’re sponsoring First Thursdays, so we’re looking forward to that. We want to bring some of that activity, more of that activity up in this block,” said Butler. 

The tech giant is currently advertising online for 43 Santa Barbara-based jobs and the spokesperson says they will continue to hire.

Downtown Santa Barbara shares in Oppizzi and Butler’s excitement and hopes this will open the door for more tech companies to set up shop downtown. 

Community / Lifestyle / Santa Barbara- S County / Technology

Kacey Drescher