A Little Slice of Heaven on Del Mar

Wandering through the arched doorway of Erba is akin to crossing the threshold into a slice of heaven. Essences of lavender, eucalyptus, rose and verbena whirl, waft, and permeate the senses. Erba, located at 114 Avenida del Mar, is cumulous and airy. The color white is Lisa Yates’, owner since the shops inception in 2002, most cherished color. White represents purity; it’s clean, fresh, and the neutral background of everything. In Yates’ native Italian, “erba” translates to grass, and the ethereal ambience of the shop blends seamlessly with its earthy roots. The experience of Erba really does feel like visiting a heaven on earth.

The shop consists of a vast array of European bath and body products, artisan soaps and candles, eclectic jewelry, and a smattering of fun, inexpensive clothing. The displays are artistically designed and most products are available to sample. Outside the front door is a chalkboard sign that reads “Yes, you should.” Because whether it’s a gift for someone else or a treat for you, we all deserve it.

“I am Erba’s biggest fan,” says Yates. “Everything in this store is something I would choose for myself, put in my home or giftwrap for someone I love.”

Yates’ incentive for opening Erba evolved during a stressful period of her life. To decompress, she began receiving facials that incorporated essential oils and organic products. These facials shifted her outlook and perspective and left her feeling cleansed and renewed. Yates’ goal is to bestow her clientele with similar positive outcomes because there is no doubt that what we put on our outsides affects our insides.

Yates adheres to the principle of shop local, shop small. She lives here in town, is a SCHS graduate, and for many years was a single mom raising three boys. Working in a neighborhood venue that she loved and believed in also enabled her to remain devoted to raising her children as a close knit family unit. Facts like these keep Yates eternally grateful and inspire her to give back to a community that has always supported her.

“When I’m buying at trade shows, I enjoy encouraging people’s dreams,” says Yates. “My first and foremost criteria are quality and integrity. Then I ask myself, ‘Would I want it, and does it represent love, beauty, and kindness?’ If I answer yes to these questions then I buy it for the shop regardless if it’s an established brand or not.”

Numerous regular clients often refer to Erba as a one stop, one shop treasure hunt or a quaint niche filled with every day luxuries. Occasionally, novice first timers, both male and female, stroll in off the street at a loss as to what to purchase for their special someone. Yates only requires a brief description or a few traits about the recipient then viola…she streamlines a unique gift meant just for them. Whether it is an invigorating eucalyptus room spray, a lavender honey body cream or a piece of jewelry from Spain, her products are handheld works of art. And time and time again, all of these customers return to applaud her successful intuition.

As an owner Yates is open, available and approachable; being a four time cancer survivor has imbued her with limitless compassion.

“I have so much love and gratitude in my heart,” says Yates. “When people come in and want to find a gift that expresses that, they can always find it here.”

Wandering through the arched doorway of Erba is akin to crossing the threshold into a slice of heaven.