PLNT PWRD MRKT: First-ever vegan / plant-based market to open in Santa Barbara
[UPDATE, June 5, 2022: The PLNT PWRD MRKT has closed down as of early June, 2022.]
You heard it here first: A new plant-based all vegan market, PLNT PWRD MRKT, to open early December 2021 in Montecito
Montecito is now home to the first-ever plant-based market in Santa Barbara County, and also the first-ever on the California Central Coast. PLNT PWRD MRKT, located in the shopping center in Montecito (on the corner of Coast Village Dr. and Hot Springs Rd.), is slated to open in earlier December 2021 as a neighborhood retail market with packaged goods, drinks, and grab-and-go items—all of which will be 100% vegan.
PLNT PWRD MRKT is hoping to attract a broad audience, no matter what one’s food or lifestyle preference may be.
“We wanted to make a cool go-to destination spot that could just open up people’s eyes,” PLNT PWRD MRKT Co-Founder Tim Morton-Smith, a long-time Santa Barbara resident, told me. He explained that his wife, and PLNT PWRD MRKT Co-Founder Kami Morton-Smith, went plant-based about four years ago, and it had a tremendous positive impact on her life. Together, they’ve enjoyed the benefits of plant-based eating, and this new venture they believe will be a great thing for the community. Tim and Kami Morton-Smith also brought in Sam Benon to be their partner and co-founder, a long-term former employee of Trader Joe’s with immense retail knowledge.
“Think of PLNT PWRD MARKT as your modern-day health food store,” said Tim Morton-Smith. The market, which has over 1,000 sqft of retail space, will stock a diverse set of brands, from mainstream items to more niche, harder-to-find and local products.
Beth Skidmore, MSACN, chair of Rooted Santa Barbara County, a local plant-based lifestyle initiative with the mission to optimize community health through whole food plant-based nutrition education and support, believes that the opening of the plant-based market in Montecito is a game-changer. “It’s so exciting to see a new space celebrating the power of plants in our community. More and more national and global organizations are pointing towards plant-predominant lifestyles for human, global and planetary health,” said Skidmore. She added that there’s an immense opportunity at the local level for making plant-based foods more accessible, fun and delicious, and a plant-based market in the community creates a fun space for people not already eating plant-forward, but really for anyone looking to explore.
Santa Barbara has come to be a coastal gem for top-notch plant-based eateries. From fine dining at Oliver’s Montecito, to pop-ups like Rascal’s (which now has a dedicated space in the newcomer natural wine bar Venus In Furs), to elevated bar food and beer at Modern Times Beer—to name just a few—the new vegan-friendly market is a welcome addition to the burgeoning plant-forward foodie and lifestyle scene in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara is also home to initiatives like the aforementioned Rooted Santa Barbara County, and also Million Dollar Vegan (whose founder is now based in Santa Barbara). The Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) was also one of the first districts in the nation to offer vegetarian and vegan meals to students thanks in part to a partnership with the Santa Barbara-based plant-based meat company Hungry Planet.
PLNT PWRD MRKT is located at 1046 Coast Village Rd. Suite G, Montecito, CA 93108.
You can follow PLNT PWRD MRKT on Instagram to learn more and stay up to date on their opening and other happenings.
And, for plant-based food and lifestyle news, insights, giveaways and more, follow me at @lifesalternateroute and subscribe to this blog, Life's Alternate Route.
Finally, speaking of Santa Barbara, check out one of my most popular posts, a guide to plant-based dining and wine tasting in Santa Barbara and the "Santa Barbara Vegan Wine Trail."
Closing thoughts: Trend watch on plant-based markets
Dedicated plant-based neighborhood markets have started to spring up over the last few years and continue to be a growing trend. Businesses are not only meeting, but also helping to fuel, growing demand for vegan goods and meeting people where they are in the community to discover new brands. XMarket for example, owned by e-commerce plant-based retailer PlantX (which I have covered and watched its growth) is a Canadian-based brand expanding its retail plant-based market experience with a store in Venice, CA, and its recently opened flagship store in San Diego, CA. There are a host of other dedicated vegan retail markets in California and beyond. The success of these stores in other markets is good news for PLNT PWRD MRKT as they join a web of veg-centric retail stores and a growing community of businesses offering plant-based goods.