629 E. Haley St., 965-8101, ootyscooters.com
For the family behind Ooty’s, the scooter revolution began during a six-month trip to Europe. Owner Chris Neely and his wife, Kathy, came home from that holiday on fire with the idea of helping spread the scooter gospel in their hometown, and soon enough, Ooty’s was born. “From the beginning, it has been about finding an alternative way to get around town that uses less gas and requires less bulk,” says Neely. Since opening in 2008, Ooty’s has converted some 2,000 Santa Barbarians to the pure and practical kicks of scooter life with new scoots and helped fan the flames of scores more with their repair-shop services. Though Neely has recently turned the daily operations of the store over to his son Ryan, the revolution is in no danger of slowing. “In Santa Barbara, riding a scooter is just too much fun.”
Finalist: Ducati of Santa Barbara
Much to the chagrin of area cabbie outfits, Uber is once again king of the Santa Barbara taxi hill — without actually owning a single car. Relying on a small army of loosely professional and independently contracted drivers whom you contact via an app on your cell phone, Uber often gets you where you need to go for a few dollars less than their traditional and fully permitted counterparts, albeit in a ride that looks like any other car on the road. And, of course, there is the fact that a trip with Uber never requires cash or card in hand; all you need is your phone, and Uber’s ever increasing ubiquity.
Ducati of Santa Barbara
17 W. Montecito St., 884-8443, ducatiofsb.com
And now this from the Not What You Expected Department: the Dunne family’s Ducati showroom here in S.B. is the oldest Ducati dealership in the United States. The celebrated high-performance Italian motorcycles have been available around these parts since 1978 thanks to the Dunnes, their shop serving as a cultural hub for motorcycle heads. “We are a big-kids toy store,” said Carlin Dunne. “We are third-generation motorcycle racers, so this is really a labor of love for us. It feels good to be recognized by the readers again this year because we really do put our heart and souls into it every day.”
Finalist: Santa Barbara Motorsports
New Car Dealership/ Used Car Dealership
Toyota of Santa Barbara
5611 Hollister Ave., Goleta, 572-1130, toyotaofsantabarbara.com
Be it a brand-spanking-new ride or a reliable used rig that you are after, Toyota of Santa Barbara is the place to find it, according to Indy voters. Why? Well, to hear the dealership’s general manager, Mike Caldwell, tell it, it is a combination of “the best product available new or used” and a customer experience that is, by design, devoid of awkward haggling or weird salesperson games of bluff. Nobody works on commission at Toyota of Santa Barbara, so you can rest assured that you are getting the best price available. “Buying a car is not always the best experience, and we know it,” says Caldwell. “We’ve realized that if we get out of the way and don’t screw it up, and just work to make the process as enjoyable as possible for the customer, then it usually works out well for everybody.”
Finalists: santa barbara auto group (New Car DealERship)
Milpas Motors (Used Car Dealership)
Educated Car Wash
3735 State St., 687-8800, educatedcarwash.com
First off, this place has a gift shop and some of the most consistently low-priced gasoline pumps around. And while these two things would sweeten any car-washing setup to potentially award-winning levels, at Educated they simply sweeten the pot on what is already an aces operation: a 100 percent hand-washed service, bio-degradable soaps, lamb’s wool washing mitts, tasty and quick eating options nearby, and a mind-blowing pace of service by the dudes washing your car. They attack it as a team and get it done quick. It can actually be enjoyable to watch.
Finalist: Fairview Car Wash
836 E. Anapamu St., 564-1343, autorepairsantabarbara.com
“Every customer that comes in, that’s your boss. Those are the people writing your paycheck, so you better do right by them,” explained Kennedy’s owner, Mike Newton. It has been just over 15 years since Newton took over Kennedy’s, something he did after years of working as a master mechanic at assorted car dealerships between here and Beverly Hills. His win this year in Best Of caught him completely by surprise, as the repair shop doesn’t advertise or push their name in any way other than trying to do excellent work. “All I do is fix everyone’s car exactly like I would like my car fixed,” said Newton.
Finalist: Top shop automotive
Quick Oil Change
Many locations, jiffylube.com
Technically speaking, this award is going to Jiffy Lube Service Station #1396. Synonymous with quick and affordable service, Jiffy Lube, like it is in cities and towns all over this country, is #1 with our readers. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown, our Lube provides the regular and necessary engine, fuel-system, and drivetrain services your car or truck needs to live a long and happy life. No appointment is necessary. And the shaded little picnic scene is a mighty fine place to have a short hang while your car gets worked on.
Finalist: Fast Lane
Place to Get Tires
7095 Market Place Dr., Goleta, 685-3199, costco.com
There are certain luxuries and benefits afforded by being the second-largest retailer in the world, and one of them is the ability to sell tires as cheap as or cheaper than anyone else in the game. Costco also offers a lifetime warranty on all the tires they sell, as well as a lifetime rotation and balancing service. It is a pretty tough deal to beat, save for the fact that they don’t really have an appointment system, so service time is very much at the mercy of that day’s schedule.
Finalist: Big Brand Tire & Service
Many locations, enterprise.com
One of the biggest dogs in the rental car pack, Enterprise is once again the #1 choice of our readers. With outposts at the airport, on upper State, and down toward the highway end of Chapala, they are as easy to find in person as they are to find on the Internet. Helpful staff always works to get you the best rate, be it via the web or from them directly, and they also offer a free pickup service for those hectic days when you simply cannot find a ride.