Community Solutions to the ‘Retail Apocalypse’
Santa Barbara retailers currently face a perfect storm due to recent local natural disasters that have added to the impact of e-commerce, national trends, neighborhood vacancies, Byzantine local regulations, and the high cost of doing business in Santa Barbara. The World Business Academy’s Global Citizens Club convened a panel of local thought leaders and retail representatives to discuss the current state of State Street and how we can champion more innovative solutions to improve our local economy. In this video you will hear how the community can come together to nurture locally owned retailers, make Downtown Santa Barbara a desirable destination for all, boost pedestrian traffic, and improve the local economy by revitalizing the local retail sector.
Unfamiliar with the term Retail Apocalypse and the current state of national retail? Check out the latest news on this pressing issue.
Can’t watch the whole meeting all at once? We’ve split it up by speaker into a Youtube Playlist.
Speaker Bios (In Order of Appearance)
Moderator: Rinaldo Brutoco, Founder & President, World Business Academy
Rinaldo Brutoco is the Founding President of the World Business Academy. An economics and business expert specializing in energy policy, renewable energy, finance, innovation, and the causes of and adaptation strategies for climate change, Mr. Brutoco publishes cutting-edge articles and books that address the role and responsibility of business in relation to critical moral, environmental, and social concerns of the day. For almost thirty years, Mr. Brutoco has been an international leader in advancing the nature of responsible corporate governance, corporate accountability, transparency, and ways that corporations can fulfill their social compact by providing goods and services that the public needs and wants in appropriate and financially prudent ways.
Kate Schwab, Marketing & Communications Director, Downtown Santa Barbara
Kate Schwab moved to Santa Barbara 23 years ago, to open Borders Books & Music in Downtown Santa Barbara. She joined the Board of Downtown Santa Barbara in 1999 and has served as secretary and vice president. By the time Borders closed, Kate was the district marketing manager, handling marketing and events for 11 stores from San Luis Obispo to Simi Valley. In 2009, Kate joined the Metropolitan Transit District as the Assistant Marketing Manager. In June of 2013, Kate began her Dream Job with Downtown Santa Barbara. There, she serves as Marketing & Communications Director, and is currently having the time of her life. She even lives downtown, and finds herself shopping, dining, wine tasting and enjoying movies and other fun stuff in the best place to live in the entire world. She is, in short, a big fan of both Downtown Santa Barbara specifically and Santa Barbara South Coast in general. Go ahead – ask her.
Hal Conklin, President, USA Green Communities
Mr. Conklin has been one of California’s leading advocates for effective community government, serving in multiple leadership roles including Mayor and City Council Member of the City of Santa Barbara, President of the California League of Cities in Sacramento, and Vice President of the National League of Cities in Washington DC. He spearheaded the development of Santa Barbara’s “Cultural District,” including the restoration of the Stearns Wharf and Granada Theater, a “downtown retail restoration plan” that included Paseo Nuevo, a nightclub district on lower State Street, and the waterfront revitalization. Mr. Conklin served for 10 years as the Co-Director of the Community Environmental Council, in which he pioneered the city’s model, multi-dimensional recycling programs. Mr. Conklin also served for 17 years as the Director of Public Affairs for Southern California Edison, where he led a team with a strong focus on expanding renewable energy, energy efficiency, electric vehicle infrastructure build-out in local communities, and smart grid technology. In 2012 he retired from SCE and became the President of USA Green Communities, setting standards for sustainable environmental practices for local governments throughout the US.
Angel Martinez, Former CEO, Deckers Outdoor Corporation
In 1980, Angel was a founding employee of Reebok International where he was Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer upon his retirement in 2001. Angel was a founder, CEO and Co-Chairman of Keen Footwear, LLC from 2002-2005 and also a founding board member of Ariat. Angel joined Deckers Outdoor Corporation on April 11, 2005 as CEO and President and was named Chairman of the Board on May 28, 2008. Angel is a founding member of the Board of Advisors for the Reebok Human Rights Awards and was the executive producer of the “Human Rights Now!” tour in 1988, with Amnesty International and Bill Graham. He serves on the board of Tupperware, a Fortune 500 company, as well as Korn Ferry. He also serves on the board of trustees of the Santa Barbara Foundation, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival board, and is on the Board of Governors of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Angel was honored a second time as the 2008 “Person Of The Year” by Footwear News and was honored with the Footwear Industry Icon Award in 2011. A native of Cuba, Angel immigrated to the United States in 1958. He is a graduate of the University of California at Davis, where he was an All-American in cross country and track. Angel and his wife, Frankie, have four children and now live in Santa Barbara, California.
Amy Cooper, Owner of Plum Goods Store
Amy Cooper is the founder and owner of Plum Goods — a gift, home, clothing, jewelry store and art gallery featuring ethically made merchandise. She began her career in San Francisco working in political campaigns, public relations and corporate communications for companies such as Charles Schwab. After moving to Santa Barbara in 1996, Amy continued in brand management and marketing for companies locally and nationwide, most recently as Brand Manager for Toad & Co. In 2010 she launched Plum Goods, a six-time winner of Best Gift store in SB. In December 2016 she expanded the store from 2,000 to 4,000 square feet to feature sustainable clothing, shoes, fine jewelry and accessories for men and women. In 2017 she won Santa Barbara’s Business Champion of the Year award for her efforts on behalf of local retail. She is a board member of Downtown Santa Barbara and serves as head of the Retail Committee. She lives in Santa Barbara with her daughter.
Ken Oplinger, President/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Santa Barbara Region
President/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Santa Barbara Region since May 2013. Previously ran the Chambers in Bellingham, WA, Visalia, CA and was the lobbyist for the Chamber in Fremont, CA. Graduate of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, (BA in Political Science and Spanish). Graduate of the Institute for Organizational Management at UCLA. Past Chairman of the Board of WACE, served on the Planning Commission of the City of Visalia (CA) for three years, the Planning Commission for the City of Blaine, Washington for six years, three as the chair, and served on the Blaine City Council until returning to California. Past winner of the Russell E. Pettit “Excellence in Leadership Award” and the WACE Executive of the Year Award.