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Head to Toe

Best of 2008


Consignment Store

The Closet 1213 State St., Ste. L, 963-8083

Now celebrating its fifth year in business, The Closet (which should not be confused with the thrift store chain Out of the Closet) operates on a well-worn principle. Mainly, the stock is previously owned clothes that are still in the focus of fashion, though they do buy vintage wearables when the offering is too good to pass up. Considering the relativity of fashion in a planet traveling at the speed of light, this means high style for the masses minus the high prices.

FINALIST

Jessica

Shoe Repair

Jesse’s Shoes and Repair 5915 Calle Real #D, Goleta, 964-3414

Half a century ago, Jesse Holder first picked up a tacking hammer and scissors and began repairing shoes and other clothing implements constructed of cowhide. Today his shop is again (annually for at least a decade now) recognized by the readers as the place to put body and sole back together. If the shoe fits, as Jesse might say, repair it.

FINALIST

Step-N-Out Instant Shoe Repair

Shoe Store

Nordstrom 17 W. Canon Perdido St., 564-8770

Nordies’ deals are well-known, but what sets the store apart is that old, almost forgotten allure of the department store: variety. More than 200 brands of shoes are on sale right now, from Adidas (and Adidas by Stella McCartney) to Yumi Kim, Yves Saint Laurent, and Zodiac. Boots with leather fringes are big now for the neo-hippie gals, while men get their usual desultory footwear: casual, dress, and sneakers. Despite the plethora of shoe shops around, the readers vote Nordstrom a shoe-in for all time.

FINALIST

Macy’s

Barber Shop

Danny’s Custom Styling 3337 State St., 687-7915

We were lucky to catch Danny Ramirez-who likes to pretend that the Dodger homerun hitter is his son-at work the other day, since he only cuts hair part-time since selling the biz to Sam Huerta a few years back. The cool clip joint continues to win awards and draw faithful customers as it has since Danny started the place on the same day John F. Kennedy was elected president, November 2, 1960. “After 48 years in the same place, you see some changes,” said Danny, who recalls an A&P grocery store anchored the mall where Gelson’s now draws Hope Ranch shoppers in for foie gras and asparagus. “But you got to come in and see the new place; it’s going to be beautiful after the shopping mall finishes its facelift,” he said. “I guess we’re still doing something right.”

FINALIST

Montecito Barbers

Hair Salon

Walter Claudio Salon Spa 11 W. Figueroa St., 963-7579

Perennial winners, Walter Claudio believes in the overall picture-perfect you. Featuring Aveda products wielded by a staff constantly re-learning their craft, Walter Claudio also believes in participating in charitable outreaches like the Locks of Love program. Nice downtown rooms and intensive care for the gestalt of you.

FINALIST

Cheri Bibi

Nail Salon

Aqua Nail Bar & Boutique 143 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta, 964-0282; 3455 State St., 687-8483

After just three years in the business, owner Claudia Papa is blissed out to win. “We’re so excited,” she said. “Mostly I think it’s just hard work that got us here. A great team that really works hard.”

FINALIST

Artistic Nails & Spa

Day Spa

Avia Spa 350 Chapala St., Ste. 101, 730-7303

It’s so exciting to win, and we’re very happy because we’ve just come out with new treatments and new menus,” said owner Suzanne Gore. “We hope we can always continue to improve our status as the day spa people remember.”

FINALIST

Bacara Resort & Spa

Place to Get a Facial

Beauty Products Store

Skin Deep 3405 State St., 687-9497

Tina Hasche is rejoicing. Co-owner of Skin Deep-the beauty product store that’s almost more of a local hangout than a place to put on your face-Hasche and company have managed to take these honors consistently for at least the last decade. Even after 27 years in business, the Skin Deep family is touched at the continuing support of their friends. “We’re just very proud to get this acknowledgement from the same people who have been supporting us all these years. It makes us very happy,” she said.

FINALISTS

Place to Get a Facial: Avia Spa

Beauty Products Store: Aveda Lifestyle Store

Women’s Clothing Boutique

Blue Bee 911 1/2 State St., 882-2468

I think the reason people like us is because we are extremely passionate about our business,” said Marty Bebout, who co-owns the six stores that make up this town-wide phenomenon with his partner John Doucette. (It started out with cool blue jeans and then conquered the world.) “We pride ourselves on customer service, great fashions that fit well, great fashion events, and fantastic style. We really appreciate the award and we are very grateful.”

FINALIST

Wendy Foster

Place to Get Men’s Clothing

Banana Republic 101 Paseo Nuevo, 966-5553

There are certain phrases that used to have pejorative implication: it used to be classless to be a playboy or beneath dignity to be a pimp. Somehow the universal lifting of all boats has made the term Banana Republic, which used to mean flimsy Third World dictatorship, into a great place to buy everything from polo shirts to dress slacks. Twice enshrined in our Best Of readers’ polls, this subsidiary of the Gap Inc. appeals to the informal chic that rules most of this town, playboy and pimps notwithstanding.

FINALIST

Blue Beetle

Place to Buy a Hat

Green & Yellow Basket Shop 911 State St., 965-7722

One reason I think people like us is because we have a lot of product,” said owner Ed Dougherty. “We have every style of hat from all the makers including Stetson, Bailey, and Tilley. According to the people who sell us hats, we have the best-stocked store between San Francisco and Los Angeles. We are very happy to have won.”

FINALIST

Nordstrom

Craft Store

Michaels Arts & Crafts 187 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta, 967-7119

Begun in Texas, this gigantic warehouse of crafty items from painting supplies and paper to scrapbooking materials went public in 1984 and expanded mercilessly across the country to the delight of folk who like to make cool things at affordable prices. The company essentially merged with itself and brought the Michaels stores back into private ownership-though nowadays they are the same chain that owns Aaron Brothers (another Independent Best Of perennial winner for frames). All you need to know, though, is that the fuzzy felt, Styrofoam sheet, or construction paper you need will always be there.

FINALIST

Craft Essentials

Thrift Store

Alpha Thrift Store 5624 Hollister Ave., Goleta, 964-1123; 5949 Hollister Ave., Goleta, 964-1123

The Alpha Thrift stores in Goleta have been the King and Queen of thrift for several years. Supporting a great organization, they have a wide and consistent base of donors for interesting and usable goods. Seasonal items are saved all year for special racks, and the options for costumes and decorations are many. While the “post” items are at times pricey, the specials and colored tags that change weekly make the possibility of finding that perfect piece probable. Toys, glassware, tools, and furniture abound as well as clothing. Always worth a look and walk through.

FINALIST

Goodwill

Vintage Clothing

Yellowstone Clothing Inc. 527 State St., 963-9609

Take our word for it: back in the day, Members Only clothing was about as declasse as you could get in an era of designer jeans-even Jordache was hipper. “Right now, they’re hot, hot, hot,” said Yellowstone co-owner Stephanie Haugen, “I can sell anything from Members Only.” The vintage market is strong with clothes from the big 1980s, beginning with T-shirts from rock concerts to Lacoste sweaters. It’s a funhouse mirror for those of us who lived through those eras-fun and scary, that is. “We want to thank our customers very much for voting for us,” said Haugen on behalf of the store that predates its own stock, founded in Isla Vista in 1974.

FINALIST

The Closet

Dry Cleaner

From Left: Margarita, Jenny, and Maribel keep your clothes spiffy at Ablitt's.
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

From Left: Margarita, Jenny, and Maribel keep your clothes spiffy at Ablitt’s.

Ablitt’s Fine Cleaners & Launderers 14 W. Gutierrez St., 963-6677

Making a clean sweep has been made possible for this second-generation family-owned biz started by parents and now run by a business-school graduate daughter for two main reasons: a great location at the bottom of State Street and complimentary pick-up and drop-off for every single order. The fact that they pride themselves on care and perfect cleaning leaves their competitors looking all wet.

FINALIST

One-Hour Martinizing

Tailor

Justo The Tailor & Cleaners 3009 State St., 682-6633

Ana Cubilla Khamo owns the store now, the one that has become so synonymous with refitting your duds that one would swear Father Serra sent his robes to Justo. Not a gigantic hive of worker bees, yet this humble and beloved store is all about quality and speed. Not only do they keep up, but if brought in early enough, they can do same-day service. That is sew cool.

FINALIST

Lee’s Tailoring

Eyewear Selection

Occhiali Fine Eyewear 7 W. Canon Perdido St., 963-5760; 1046 Coast Village Rd., Ste. H, 565-3415

Thank you very much,” said owner Irwin Eve. “It’s our 20th year; we’re beginning our 21st in January, and we just appreciate so much all our customers. We particularly enjoy our relationship with them; it’s so important to us to find the best look for each person.”

FINALIST

Santa Barbara Eyeglass Factory

Sunglass Selection

Solstice Sunglass Boutique 3815 State St., 563-4648; 713 Paseo Nuevo, 564-2930

Getting made in the shades department: It’s probably not a great idea to come in here looking for a ZZ Top fantasy of killer fashion in cheap sunglasses. These are the real things-more than 30 designers’ products ranging from about $90 to about $650. Fashionable ways to keep your peepers protected.

FINALIST

Occhiali Fine Eyewear

Medical Spa

Spa Medicus 18 E. Canon Perdido St., 966-4772

Spa Medicus, the Skin Solution Spa & Medicus Skin Enhancement, A Medical Corporation is the full name, and it’s important to realize that this is a hybrid spa and medical office completely authorized to perform less invasive procedures like Botox cosmetics, intense pulse light photo facials, microdermabrasion, and laser hair removal, among other treatments. Yet, it’s a relaxing atmosphere, a soothing environment conveniently located right off State Street on Canon Perdido Street.

FINALIST

Evolutions Medical Spa

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