Kitson Landscape Management Inc.
5787 Thornwood Dr., Goleta, 681-7010
Ultimate in Surroundings
5787 Thornwood Dr., Goleta, 681-7010
Sarah Kitson did not grow up trying to avoid getting sucked into the family business. “Are you kidding? When I was a little girl, in the summer my dad used to take me to work with him. I loved it. When I grew up I went off to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and now I’ve got it,” she said. Kitson’s mom still comes into the office sometimes, and her husband, Dave Fudurich, is project manager, while she retains the vaunted title of president. The business is mostly commercial property, and they have lots of longtime, happy clients. “Keeping them happy is my job,” said Kitson. “We listen to what they want and we’re here to keep everything looking good.”
Finalist Tropical Landscape
Inexpensive Furniture Store
610 State St., 899-8311
Say what you will about style and faddishness, but the Cost Plus look hasn’t changed very much at all since the late 1960s when it first popped up on State Street and then into young people’s homes. Maybe there were more East Asian tapestries thrown up on walls and across sofas back then, but the basic heavily lacquered black bamboo and various hues of rattan still travel from the store and into a whole new set of young persons’ homes.
Finalist Pier 1 Imports
2192 Ortega Hill Rd., Summerland, 565-3189
This collective was purchased by Joel and Georgia Berti about half a decade ago when high rents drove them out of their very popular State Street antiques collective. Begun by Lauren Wells 20 years ago as one of the first businesses that moved into Summerland’s version of the old Brinkerhoff antique neighborhood, it still features many of the original dealers. The Bertis are happy to have won, and want everybody to know they plan to expand across the street, so next year collectors will have twice as many temptations, we mean treasures, to focus on.
Finalist Antique Alley
Place to Buy Carpets/Rugs
6975 Marketplace Dr., Goleta, 961-4746
This is that big scary chain people were sure would wipe out the home improvement mom & pops. Perhaps it displaced some, but to our wise-shopping readers it filled a gap in product availability that an upscale touristy town doesn’t often supply: Big rolls of rugs, cheap and installable. While you’re out there, they have carpet nails, scissors, and hammers, too.
26 E. Cota St., 966-0855
It’s not a sexy topic, but it’s just so nice when your carpeting feels like new. Star gives deals on rugs you bring in and they clean everything from your ’70s shag — do you really want it? — to the antique Chinese collectible little Ralphie spilled the cranberry juice on. After Ralphie’s funeral, just bring it to Star. They also pick up and deliver.
Finalist Coleman Carpet and Upholstery Cleaners
415 E. Gutierrez St., 963-7825
Some things in Santa Barbara have changed and gone away this year. But let’s hold a silent vigil around this bastion of eternal help. Laid out the same as it was in the early 1980s, it fills your garden, paint, hardware, plumbing, kitchen, electricity, and lumber needs. Family-owned, staffed with friendly folk, and please don’t ever let it change.
Finalist Orchard Supply Hardware
389 S. Los Carneros Rd., Goleta, 968-8643
Small relocations and major odysseys are handled with extreme professionalism by this Santa Barbara-born company voted the best year after year. Begun by kids out of college, the whimsical trucks seem to have stuck in people’s minds. Today, however, they do auto transport and storage, too.
Finalist Santa Barbara Movers
418 N. Milpas St., 963-3545; 165 S. Patterson Ave., 964-9944
Generations of Santa Barbarians have followed that great preoccupation of the city — planting stuff and watching it grow — after first stopping at La Sumida. Each of the stores is different, with specialties depending on your obsession, from antique roses to hydroponic herbs. (Hey! We mean like oregano.) Customers can talk to botanists and people who know where to get that blue flower you saw from the freeway. A Santa Barbara classic deeply appreciated by the readers.
Finalist Terra Sol Garden Center
619 Olive St., 564-1868; 406 E. Haley St., 966-7454
They’re great because they have a massive warehouse, explained Tileco sales and computer administrator Chris Charles. They expanded down here from Santa Maria, where they were already big 16 years ago. Here, they offer great prices because they stock so much. “We have the biggest collection of natural stone tile in town,” said Charles, who brags about the Travertine stock and the Mexican Saltillo tiles always popular here. And they’re all at great prices because they don’t need to be special ordered. Most of their business, they confess, is with professionals, but Tileco is happy to show the stuff to do-it-yourselfers any day.
Finalist The Tile Collection
3845 State St., 569-6700
More like an icon than a store, a Sears excursion meant the same thing in 1957 as it does in 2006. Something needs replacing, and, happily, there is a Sears nearby smelling of roasted nuts and hardware. The old days of the famous catalogue were the postwar precursors of the Internet, a way to shop without leaving the kitchen table. Good prices, easy credit, and the knowledge that the refrigerator, which they deliver, will soon be dispensing ice again.
Finalist The Home Depot Inc.
Home Furnishings Store
110 S. Hope Ave., 687-6707
At some point comes the day when we have to put aside our badly chipped Star Wars-themed plates and have the boss over for dinner. Help me, Obi Wan! The readers firmly believe that this small but tastefully select chain offers your best shot at avoiding social catastrophes. Or, maybe you just like nice things and didn’t get in on Warren Buffett’s investment plans on time, so you need to be reasonably economical. The Pottery Barn sounds rustic, but for SoCal lifestyles it’s pretty posh.
Finalist Z Gallerie
Place to Get Kitchen Supplies
821 State St., 963-9669
Whisks, clad cookware, sauté pans, ricers, cork extractors, larding tools, and knives so sharp you could split an infinitive — these are the come-in attractions to State Street’s Sur la Table. Once you are in there, if the kitchen is your idea of the universe’s center, you will not be able to resist browsing the stemware, butter dishes, cruets, decanting bottles, and, of course, the wacky napkin rings. Lots of sales, and, at press time, they were offering a one-year subscription to Bon Appétit for every purchase that’s more than $50.
Real Estate Firm
It’s a name everybody recognizes as the number-one luxury brand, according to Sotheby’s employee Janet Caminite, although the real estate office is not the same as the pricey auction house. In a town where tract homes round out at a million dollars, perhaps luxury is the defining term of all real estate sales. Caminite brags about her agents’ expertise and training, and, remember, they handle condominiums and Brad Pitt’s beachside digs, for which $110 million is a reasonable bid right now. But another major reason you see the name nowadays is that Sotheby’s bought Pitts & Bachmann and got its agents and five locations. With that kind of coverage and international connections, no wonder the readers noticed Sotheby’s.
Finalist Village Properties
Realtor / Real Estate Agent
“I’m humbled, I am so humbled,” said Sotheby’s agent Karen Strickland about being picked number one in a town where virtually everybody has real estate dreams, if not a license. “I can’t even believe the readers would pick me in a town with such big names in the business. If there is any one reason, I might guess it’s just that I’m natural,” said the veteran of nearly 30 years. “I’m no flash. I believe in honesty. I don’t do any self-promotion — maybe that’s why. I’m stumped. Thank you.”
Finalist Chris Casebeer
Roommate Locating Service
This gang has won for the last three years, and the odd thing about it is they are not really open to the general public — but UCSB students, faculty, and staff are welcome. Housing problems? Maybe you should enroll for a quarter and then use the best referral system known to our voters. Take a nice foreign language maybe or learn some string theory for yourself.