Samy’s Camera focuses In on Downtown State Street space

Samy’s Camera plans to lease a smaller downtown Santa Barbara location at 530 State St., where the retail shop would relocate in July, according to company management.

The new space is more appropriately sized for the shop’s operations, which is set to downsize from a 20,000-square-foot space at 614 Chapala St. to just over 11,000 square feet, according to manager Richard Pinnock.

The building’s longtime, local owners and brokers hope to report official lease negotiation news soon, said Kristopher Roth, the Hayes Commercial Group associate who is representing the owners.

Samy’s Camera announced it would not renew its lease on Chapala Street late last year, vacating a location photography lovers have frequented for more than 10 years.

Sonos is set to take over that building after an extended Samy’s lease expires July 15, converting the two-story space with ample parking into its new corporate headquarters.

An extensive remodel is expected to start sometime in September — Sonos plans to expand the property by 5,000 square feet, covering existing bays — with a goal of occupying the property by Jan. 1, according to Greg Bartholomew, Hayes Commercial partner.

Pinnock said Samy’s customers won’t notice much of a difference, beyond entering a better-utilized, one-story location.

He estimated hallways and staircases took up 20 percent of space at the current Samy’s.

“We have a lot of wasted space in this location,” Pinnock said. “I think we’ll have room for everything. It’ll all be the same, but a different space.”

Pinnock said the new retail space would also provide plenty of parking with an adjacent, rarely full city lot.

“That’s what we’re kind of excited about,” he said.

The high-ceilinged building formerly housed Fueled Sports Performance, as well as a furniture store, thrift store, bowling alley and other uses over the years, Roth said.

He said owners have received a number of offers and prefer to lease to local tenants who take on a longer lease.

“They’re excited about the prospect of having a good tenant like Samy’s in there,” Roth said.

Samy’s Camera, which was founded in 1976 in Los Angeles before opening several stores, hopes for a seamless transition, Pinnock said.

A joint Father’s Day/moving sale most likely will launch next month, he added.