SANTA YNEZ, Calif. - Santa Ynez, with its small-town feel, is gently trying to bring in more foot traffic without losing its charm. The plan is working and businesses are welcoming the site of a few more people.
The township of Santa Ynez is in the greater valley with longtime legendary locations including Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, the wine country in general and the Chumash Casino Resort (with a soon-to-be-open Chumash museum).
The owner of Asher Market, Ashley Hayes saw a future in Santa Ynez, and recently opened a second location for her clothing and gifts to go with her store in downtown Santa Barbara.
She said the site, in an area with other clothing, food and one-of-a-kind businesses, is a good draw for anyone strolling down Edison street or Sagunto street where there's a similar feel. Add in a few wine tasting rooms, a new vinyl record store, the Santa Ynez Historical Museum and with that combo, Linda Small with the Santa Ynez Chamber of Commerce said, "you could spend all day" in the area.
That could start with a ranch style breakfast or a trendy coffee house.
Hayes says she has been happy with the friendly feel of the local residents and with her Texas roots she is wearing her boots in her Santa Ynez store more than her site in Santa Barbara.
Her racks are full of original alpaca blend clothing designs with a full line for women, children and new additions for men alongside throws, ponchos and scarves.
A big supporter of early education, Hayes also has books including "My first 100 science words," "ABC's of physics" and "ABC's for Future County Music Stars" (which she wrote.)
Small says Santa Ynez business owners say they are often bypassed by visitors going to Solvang, Los Olivos or the nearby casino and they want to be more of a regular stop than an after-thought.
She says they have top chefs, restaurants with unique menu items, a legendary western saloon-style gathering place in the Maverick.
For many retail owners including Asher, they say in the town you get "quality goods and things you can't find anywhere else."
(More video, photos and details will be added later today.)