Kitson Landscape Management Inc.
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
Cost Plus World Market
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
The Home Depot Inc.
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.
Star Rug Cleaners
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
Home Improvement Center
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
Mammoth Moving & Storage
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
La Sumida Nursery
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
Sears Roebuck and Co.
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
Finalist The Home Depot Inc.
Home Furnishings Store
Pottery Barn West
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
Sur La Table
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
Sotheby’s International Realty
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
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
UCSB Community Housing Rental Listing 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.