I would say the shopping in Santa Maria is fair. We are the shopping destination of surrounding smaller communities such as Lompoc, Los Alamos and Nipomo. And, because the 5 cities / San Luis Obispo area blocked many big box and discount stores for many years we were the place to shop for many years. That is changing slowly but surely. For high end retailers you will have to go to San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara to truly be satisfied. But, considering that all these areas are well within driving distance from Santa Maria, I think we have above average access to shopping even though it may not all be here in Santa Maria proper.
Hope this helps,