The building at 955 Embarcadero Del Mar, which includes Sweet Alley, Sushiya Express, Domino's, and Isla Vista Laundromat, was constructed in 1961 and is one of the oldest commercial buildings in IV. At one point, the store on the left was a beer and wine bar called Spinnaker's.
"Although no structures 50 years or older were identified within the Downtown area during the field inventory conducted as part of this analysis, the commercial building at 955 Embarcadero Del Mar and several other structures built in the 1960s will likely reach this age at commencement of construction of downtown catalyst sites.
A visual assessment of the commercial building and other structures dating from this period and later indicates that although it does not appear to be architecturally significant based on design, style, construction materials or techniques, it is associated with the first commercial development, businesses, and other services established on the downtown loop that had been designated to cater to resident needs.
Structures built in the 1950s and 1960s could be associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary Isla Vista, or be associated with a particular person important during that time. Therefore, these structures could meet Public Resources Code §5024.1 historic resources criteria A or B, respectively, which would make them eligible for listing as a historical resource."
"Profile of Downtown Isla Vista" by Michel Nellis (1990) says "In 1961, local pharmacist, Phil Quaglino, built the first major commercial development next door to the General Store. This new strip center housed a laundromat, a dry cleaners, a barber shop, and a beauty salon, all separately owned and operated" (page 7). The University General Store was the original name of IV Market.
In early 2012, the facade was renovated to add a grey and black surface to the signage area. It previously had a plain white surface behind the signs. This is similar to a renovation of Woodstock's that happened around the same time, done by Acme Architecture (which has done other facade improvements in IV as well, including the IV Food Coop and Chino's). It's unclear if Acme Architecture did this one, but it seems likely. This may have been partly sponsored by the Isla Vista Facade Improvement Program, a county program.
The side of the building, facing Seville, previously had a lovely whale mural painted by artist Joyce Ortner, which she called "Humpback Whale and Baby". It was replaced with a sunflower-faces beach scene when the facade was renovated.
See Lost Murals of Isla Vista for other lost murals.