Jack of All Trades 27 W. Anapamu St., Ste. 176, 708-5466
First off, his name isn’t Jack, it’s Jim Beltran, and he has a small staff that helps him help you. “But I carefully supervise all the workers I use,” said Beltran. “I think we won because we’re very popular and we do lots of work and people vote for us.”
Finalist- Quality Contractor Referrals
Sears 270 E. Hwy. 246, Buellton, 686-5130; 1009 N. H St., Lompoc, 736-1675; 3845 State St., 569-6700; 200 Town Center East, Santa Maria, 346-7790
Those of us lucky enough to own appliances (rather than renting them or visiting the dreaded horrors of bewildering Laundromats) know the panic that ensues when a dishwasher, dryer, or microwave bites the dust. Sears seems invented to allay such anxieties-the easy credit programs it offers and reliable merchandise it sells makes replacement easy. And repair? In a throwaway world, it’s nice to know that this service exists-it repairs all brands of most appliances-and, even better, your neighbors voted strongly to recommend them.
Finalists- Appliance Store: The Home Depot Inc.Appliance Repair: A-1 Appliance Repair
Home Improvement Center 415 E. Gutierrez St., 963-7825
Gary Simpson and his family have been around the house for 38 years. For most people, a trip down to Gutierrez Street to pick up hardware, plants, carpentry items, and plumbing needs is a natural call, even in the age of big-box hardware suppliers, mostly because the staff in the red polo shirts can tell a spline from a handsaw, and won’t laugh at you if you can’t.
Finalist- Orchard Supply Hardware
Home Furnishings Store
Pottery Barn 110 S. Hope Ave., Ste. 8-28C, 687-6707
The first store opened in 1949, though three decades would pass before one opened in our neighborhood. Then it seemed the impeccable place to buy nice wineglasses for your friends to furnish that first-ever nice place after the college crash pad. Today it has everything, and, surprisingly, is owned by Williams-Sonoma. From funky elegance, it now majors in a softer, more comfortable prettiness, and young people might have to wait ‘til matrimony hits before scoring a wineglass, table setting, or really nice drapes to go with the cush bedspread.
Finalist- Z Gallerie
Inexpensive Furniture Store
Cost Plus World Market 610 State St., 899-8311
The Basanti Chair is handmade in India and sells in this long-standing franchise world bazaar for $399. The Durana Storage Bench, “covered in yummy chocolate” (ahem, that’s color, not food), sells for $249. A two-door glass cabinet made of veneer rubber wood sells for $299. It’s not as cheap as a good thrift store, but it’s brand new furniture. When it’s time to lend respectability to domesticity, this is where our readers say they like to shop.
Finalist- 1 World Imports
Patterson Self Storage 98 N. Patterson Ave., 964-0924
“We have a brand-new property that’s part of the business now,” explained property manager Jane Jewell. “And it’s temperature-controlled and state-of-the-art. I would say that what makes us unique is we have music piped into the grounds and the elevators are clean. People sometimes say, ‘My God, I feel like I’m at the Biltmore,’” Jewell laughed. “It’s awesome that we won.”
Finalist- A-American Self Storage
Summerland Antique Collective 2192 Ortega Hill Rd., Summerland, 565-3189; 2173 Ortega Hill Rd., Summerland, 565-2176
For those of us who remember Summerland as the exclusive domain of crazed surfers and equally demented bikers rubbing elbows with the polo set, it’s hard to believe that Summerland Antique Collective has been open for business for 15 years. It’s a brand-new world down there. With two locations and more than 40 dealers, this collective run by Joel and Georgia Berti is elegance in a little beach town.
Finalist- Antique Alley
Place to Buy Carpet/Rugs
The Home Depot Inc. 6975 Marketplace Dr., Goleta, 961-4746
This town isn’t well-disposed to chains, as a quick perusal of this Best Of list will reveal. Home improvement’s mostly left to old family-owned businesses, except for this big-box store. Home Depot advertises adept sales and installation, whether it’s “pile or Berber, plush or frieze.” And the skeptical, non-chain-store readers apparently believe it.
Hillary Hauser, Executive director of Heal the Ocean
Favorite hearing room to speak out in?
“City Hall. There are no green, yellow, or red lights to terrorize you at the podium [like there are at the county’s hearing room].”
University Movers 402 E. Gutierrez St., 705-5854
“Aren’t we awesome? We rocked,” said mild-mannered Bobbi Jo Bain Connor, clerical worker for University Movers. “I do all the callbacks so I get the feedback from customers after the move. Mostly they say how the guys are so funny, hard-working, and a hoot to be around. They have a lot of energy, and our customers love that.”
Finalist- Mammoth Moving & Storage
Kitson Landscape Management Inc. 5787 Thornwood Dr., Goleta, 681-7010
The business began way back in 1969, but has been carried on by the second generation, namely Sarah Kitson and Dave Fudurich, since 2000. They have expanded the company’s range from personal to commercial properties. “We are very proud to be voted in,” said office manager Susan Ellis. “We post the awards in the office so everyone can see them.”
Finalist- Tropical Landscape
Molly Maid 684-7328
Here’s how it works. You leave a key somewhere if you’re not going to be home and Molly Maid will come to your home on the day you ask. You leave a check, payable to MM. They ask you only to pick up toys or clothes on the floor. They clean, take care of paying the cleaners who bring their own equipment, and are responsible for repair, replacement, or insurance notification if anything is broken. You come home, and sigh deeply with pleasure.
Finalist- Silvia’s Cleaning Service
La Sumida Nursery 165 S. Patterson Ave., 964-9944
Now down to one location, La Sumida Nursery still reigns supreme in the heart of the voters. Maybe it’s because the company has been guiding gardeners since 1958. Maybe it’s because of the variety of stock and the experience of the staff, many of whom have been with La Sumida since the invention of the lawn. “I don’t know why people vote for us; maybe you should ask the voters,” said one of the managers, Bernd Schroeter. “I think we’re great, but I’m prejudiced,” he laughed. How long has he had to build an opinion? “Oh, I’ve been here a long, long time. I think I was born here.”
Finalist- Terra Sol Garden Center
Tileco Distributors 406 E. Haley St., 966-7454; 619 N. Olive St., Ste. B, 564-1868
With more than 25 years in business and eight locations between Monterey and Ventura, Tileco offers customers big selection and expert service, according to sales and marketing manager Gina Flint. “We have our own brands and import tile from all over the world, like Italy, Turkey, and Spain,” she said. “And we do every kind of job from high end to low end and everywhere in between. We like helping our customers, so they don’t have to go to L.A. for tile needs.”
Finalist- Tile Collection
Real Estate Firm
Village Properties 1250 Coast Village Rd., Montecito, 969-8900; 4050 Calle Real, 681-8800; 3601 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez, 688-1620
Begun in 1996 by Renee Grubb and Ed Edick, Village Properties now has offices in the burgeoningly hip Santa Ynez Valley, too. Besides offering great agents, VP is all about community involvement, supporting a Teacher’s Fund and the annual Heart Walk, among other worthy endeavors, according to Grubb. “We’ve been working hard at getting noticed by Santa Barbara, and now we’re glad to see it happen,” said Grubb.
Finalist- Sotheby’s International Realty
Place to Get Kitchen Supplies
Sur La Table 821 State St., 963-9669
Zesters, pasta machines, ibriks, samovars, mandolines, whisks-who could live without them? Well, even if like Marge Simpson you think eight spice-rack spaces is more than enough, you can always give something for the kitchen to someone who has everything else. This one’s downtown, fun to browse, and delicious with bargains.
Coleman Carpet & Upholstery Cleaners 275 Orange Ave., Goleta, 683-2305
Since 1969, the Coleman family has been bringing your floors, carpets, and upholstery back to a near-new state. They provide emergency 24-hour water damage repair and like to help educate you in year-round cleaning. Floors are their bottom line.
Finalist- Santa Barbara Carpet Cleaners
Real Estate Agent
For two years in a row, the readers have seen fit to enshrine Karen Strickland as a representative of that business to which everybody aspired years ago, and now, well, maybe not so much. Strickland works for Sotheby’s and has been plying this trade for more than 30 years. She’s seen a lot of the city sell and a lot of city people buy, and during those ups and downs her customers have seen something they like in her.
Finalist- Goodwin & Thyne Properties