La Sumida Nursery
165 S. Patterson Ave., 964-9944
Dee Honer raises her voice in a victorious “Yay!” upon learning the news. “Even though we’ve won this a lot in the past, there’s a lot of strong competition out there, so it never seems easy,” said Honer, one of the managers of the 53-year-old business. “I think that people come here because it’s a friendly, family-owned business and we take pride in our plants.”
Terra Sol Garden Center
Home Furnishing Store
110 South Hope Ave., 687-6707
It used to be a great place to buy your first set of wine glasses; now the Pottery Barn can outfit your crib from cradle to, well, graceful retirement. The styles are classically restrained and the prices are way competitive. Like the Holy Roman Empire, its name doesn’t quite fit its function, but, as the readers confirm for half a decade in a row now, its function is fairly vital to our indoor fireworks displays.
Cost Plus World Market
Real Estate Firm
Longtime Santa Barbaran — a Mesa kid — Ed Edick has been watching the economy with a guarded optimism through recent troubling years. He’s not sure it will ever be as wild a ride as it once was, but he’s pretty sure things are improving as we speak. His business, of course, depends on it, and they have weathered tough times gracefully. “I’m very proud of this company,” said Edick. “But the reflection is not on me. It’s on the 150 agents that work for us and all the staff. It’s not about me, but it’s all about us.”
Prudential California Realty
Real Estate Agent
3868 State St., 637-7148
Daniel Zia feels it is his team that deserves the credit heaped upon him by the readers. He writes: “The ZiaGroup would like to thank all of our clients who have voted Daniel Zia as the #1 Realtor. As a team, we are honored and feel that the community’s outpouring of support validates the exceptional service and extensive market knowledge we strive to provide our buyers and sellers. We attribute our continued success to finding new ways to add value to each and every one of our clients. We also spent the last handful of years developing a comprehensive Web site, including two blogs (updated weekly), where we continually provide our clients and the community with useful information and market statistics. As the team’s broker/Realtor, I pride myself in offering the same neutral counsel to a new client than I would to a close friend or family member.”
114 E. Haley St., Ste. J, 618-1618
“It comes down to service,” explained University Movers’ Joey Maida. “Let’s face it; we’re catching people at the most stressed times of their lives. So we try to appreciate that fact from the first phone call to the last item off the truck. What people want is someone more organized than they are, so we try to do that by coming in with a complete inventory, and a reasonable estimate. The job entails being part therapist and part mover, and that’s what we try to be,” laughed Maida.
7090 Market Place Dr., 571-3999
It’s hard to argue or compete with a giant store as well stocked with all the price breaks commensurate with mass marketing. What it may lack in customer service — and even its own Web site carries three reviews complaining about under-trained team members — it more than makes up in value and selection. Computers, Kindles, cellular communications, televisions, and music-blasting machines. What else is there?
706 State St., 962-3944
“Oh yeah, we’re excited to win,” said Antique Alley owner Alan Howard. “I’m sure it’s the friendly service that brings people here, though I also think there’s a great entertainment value to this store. We have 20 different dealers, so there’s something in here for everybody, whether you are 7 or 70 years old.”
Summerland Antique Collective
Place to Buy Carpets/Rugs
5610 Hollister Ave., 964-3551
One of the perennial winners, Carpeteria beckons people hence in a time when most of us would rather shoot ourselves: floor shopping. But inside this Old Town Goleta store are the rolled-up products of many countries, woven of dreamy natural fibers of sensuous loft and scientifically baffling artificial ingredients that resist the ministrations of a scrimmaging gridiron squad. It’s all there, and it’s easily seen. And with the volume they do, it means ground-level bargains. The wool can’t be pulled over your eyes long.
Rugs and More
Kitson Landscape Management
5787 Thornwood Dr. 681-7010
Kitson is another family-run business in our list that’s been around more than four decades and is on its second generation of owners. Normally, they just do big jobs like industrial parks and homeowners associations but the word has gotten around. “It’s our quality of service,” explained administrative assistant Suzie Schonauer. “If something needs to be done, we send somebody there right away. People really like that.”
Ace Handyman Services of Santa Barbara
Was David Budlong ecstatic to win this year’s polls? “Abso-friggin’-lutely,” he laughed, though noting he has been on a jag of winning — his second in a row — though in his former incarnation as the Honey Do Kid, he took a few first places way back when, too. His secret to popular acclaim is fairly simple: “Quality work at affordable prices, good customer service, and being on time.” To which we add, indi-freakin’-sputable.
Jack of All Trades
Silvia’s Cleaning Services
320 S. Kellogg Ave., Ste. E, Goleta, 682-6141
For more than 20 years, Silvia’s has been cleaning up in Santa Barbara. The service is available for all kinds of jobs, from offices to Isla Vista student tenements, from weekly clean-up to end-of-lease or after-party disaster areas. A perennial winner, Silvia’s does on-the-spot work from windows to grout.
Naturalist Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning
986 Miramonte Dr., #4, 884-1911
“It’s very cool that we won,” said manager Jebediah VanVeelen. “I think that besides the great job we do, people appreciate how straightforward our pricing is.” The costs are actually a little below most other cleaners and come with a reasonable estimate and a not-to-exceed ceiling, so important in a business fraught with scam offers and misleading quotes. And not to mention the comparatively green methods VanVeelen’s workers employ, using a citrus-based formula that doesn’t pollute and dries much more quickly than harsh chemical detergents used by most other cleaners.
Coleman Carpet Cleaners
Home Improvement Center
415 E. Gutierrez St., 963-7825
Another one of the many multi-decade, multigenerational stores, this community gathering-place that just happens to sell gardening, kitchen, electric, hardware, and construction materials was begun by papa Ken Simpson Jr. in 1967, and has been run by son Gary since 1983. The staff is always friendly — probably because they’ve seen every crazy thing and answered every wacky question by now — and the store is sparkly clean and very well-stocked. Perhaps it costs a wee bit more than those giant chain hardware stores, but it’s annually picked by the readers as the place they go to get the stuff they need to do it on their own.
Orchard Supply Hardware
619 N. Olive St., Ste. B, 564-1868
What would this town be without tile? Literally from bathroom floors to the courthouse roof, the Mediterranean-Hispanic building material defines at least half of our much-vaunted architectural code and probably underpins the whole economy in terms of money spent and earned on refurbishing Montecito homes. For over 30 years, now, Tileco has supplied the stuff that such dream houses are made of, with more than 15,000 varieties of ceramic sexiness in a number of warehouses creating beautiful surfaces for us to admire.