Free People opened a store on lower State Street this weekend, offering a new indulgence for local shoppers.
The popular women’s clothing line is a subsidiary of the company that owns Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie — two other brands with locations on State Street. According to assistant manager Shannon Malone, the new boutique’s debut proved successful.
“We did really well on opening day,” Malone said. “Everyone was super excited. People were definitely anticipating the opening.”
Store manager Gregoria Arambula noted that the opening received positive feedback from locals.
“The community has been very supportive,” Arambula said. “People are coming in and yelling, ‘Finally Free People is here!'”
Kendall Vincent — a student at Dos Pueblos High School who said she loves the clothes for their originality and playfulness — was among the opening day shoppers.
“It’s my favorite store,” Vincent said. “We usually have to go all the way to L.A.”
Although the label is generally directed toward a younger crowd, Arambula is confident that the store will appeal to a wide range of age groups.
“There’s no specific target age,” Arambula said. “It’s something both a 20- and 40-year-old can wear.”
Arambula said she expects Free People to continue its success in Santa Barbara due to its laid-back appeal.
“Santa Barbara has such as artsy community, so the two really go hand in hand,” she said.
Although the addition of downtown chain stores could be seen as a threat to smaller local businesses, Kelly Scott, the owner of Isla Vista’s Miss Behavin’, said she is not worried about the new competitor.
“I’m actually excited because I love Free People,” Scott said. “I don’t really see it as competition. I try to carry things that you can’t find downtown.”
Scott said she is confident that Miss Behavin’s lower prices and unique selection will keep its customer base from straying to the downtown store.
“My store is unique and not a corporate business,” Scott said. “I’m trying to do something totally different out here.”
Free People’s doors officially opened on Feb. 19 at 1127 State Street.