Best of Santa Barbara® 2020
by Leslie Dinaberg
La Sumida Nursery
Founded in 1958, the family-owned La Sumida Nursery has seen a lot of changes over the years. Still, “2020 has been quite the challenge,” said team member Dee Honer. “We had to change a lot to keep customers and employees safe. Fortunately, many people used the quarantine time to garden. We are thankful to our loyal customers.”
Runner-Up: Terra Sol Garden Center
Home Furnishing * Place to Buy Carpet/Rugs
You never know what kind of treasures will catch your eye when you visit the Goleta outpost of the HomeGoods chain. Our readers’ pick for Best Home Furnishings and Best Place to Buy Carpet/Rugs, HomeGoods has an endlessly changing selection of interesting merchandise. Patient hunters/gatherers will find bargains if they’re game for a treasure hunt through an eclectic mix of merchandise, including furniture, rugs, lighting, decorative accessories, tabletop, cookware, and more.
Runner-Up (Home Furnishings): Pottery Barn
Runner-Up (Place to Buy Carpet/Rugs): Abbey’s Carpet City
Real Estate Company
Village Properties Realtors
Representing buyers and sellers in Santa Barbara County for over 20 years, independently owned Village Properties is once again Indy readers’ choice for Best Real Estate Company in the area. Well-regarded for the devoted team of knowledgeable agents as well as the philanthropic Teachers Fund, which was founded by owner Renee Grubb in 2002, Village Properties is, as reader Bryan said in his nomination, “A local company that truly cares about our community!”
Runner-Up: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
Real Estate Team
The Hall Team
“The pandemic has given people a fresh perspective on what’s important to them,” said two-time honoree Lesley Hall. “‘Home’ has become more important than ever. It’s not just about where you live. It’s how you live. It’s the keeper of moments. It’s where you feel safe. We are there to achieve those goals.”
Runner-Up: Riskin Partners Estate Group
Real Estate Agent
Kevin Hall, Compass Real Estate
How quickly the residential market has changed. “The top things people ask us about now are: space to work from home, a private outdoor area, a more functional kitchen for making meals at home, and a place the kids can log on to those online classes!” said Hall. “We’re as grateful as ever to have had the support of the community in voting for us for another year!”
Runner-Up: Daniel Zia
[See Living Well: Bank]
Our readers’ top pick for mortgage agent for the fourth year in a row, Austin Lampson has been busy this year. “We saw 19 rate changes in one day. It’s very intense,” she said. “By staying true to our vision, we’ve been able to remain consistent in being there for our clients and their referrals. We position ourselves as your ally in homeownership, and that’s needed more so today than ever before.”
Runner-Up: Kelly Marsh
“We are honored and excited to be voted the best moving company again,” said Erik Haney, Movegreen CEO. Moving companies are one business sector that’s working harder than ever right now. “We have been incredibly busy throughout the pandemic as many people have been moving all around California,” Haney said.
Runner-Up: Mammoth Moving & Storage
“Our building sites are a delightful place to spend time,” said Jeff Shelton. “We have been with the same group of people for 25 years. People are always cheerful at the site, no matter how difficult we have made it for them. Every project has an energy that everyone taps into. We all know that each project will blossom in the end. I have had clients that were upset when construction was complete because they miss the camaraderie.”
Runner-Up: AB Design Studio
Employee-owned Allen Construction was once again the pick for Best Contractor. “We have had to adjust and adapt like everyone has, but we are fortunate that a lot of our work is done outside on the job sites and we can continue,” said VP Eric Johnson. Through their Locals Helping Locals program, the team was able to assist 11 other businesses in constructing parklets or outdoor areas so that they could continue to operate.
Runner-Up: Jed Hirsch
Jack Martin started Action Roofing 35 years ago with $1,000 and a 1964 pickup truck. Since then, the company has grown to 120 employees and more than 50 trucks. “Hard work and caring about what you do results in success,” said Martin. “This starts at the top but carries through to our entire team. They are all a part of this honor.”
Runner-Up: Tower Roofing
Good Land Plumbing & Construction
“Nobody likes to call in the plumbers, but all of our staff work hard to do their part to ensure that the customer experience is as pleasant as possible,” said Richard Hug, business manager of Good Land Plumbing, which has worked in Santa Barbara County since 2005. “This selection reflects the goal of our company mission to provide the best service possible with the highest-quality work and with the highest integrity.”
Runner-Up: R J Carroll & Sons
Pacific Painting Company
“My biggest thanks goes out to my foremen and crew,” said “very honored” owner Rob Gruenberg. “Most of my workers have been with me for quite some time, and they make my job rewarding. They are friendly, dependable, skilled, and actually take pride in their work.”
Runner-Up: Sea Breeze Painting
The Blue Door
Four-time winners, The Blue Door owners Brian Garwood and Carolyn Petersen were “honored that the Santa Barbara community enjoys the shopping experience we’ve created as much as we do!” Their ever-evolving Funk Zone space has continued to shift in 2020. “We are pleased to have created a larger online presence via social media to offer more shopping from home,” said the pair.
Runner-Up: Antique Alley
Mattress Mike Furniture Gallery
“We are eternally grateful to all our wonderful customers,” said Garret Gustason, GM of Mattress Mike Furniture Gallery, which has transitioned to appointment only to offer a safer, customized customer experience. “To be voted Best Mattress Store is an honor, and we hope to continue to leave a positive impression on our customers as each year passes. We truly cannot express how grateful we are to be a part of your home, and we will always strive to make your comfort our top priority.”
Runner-Up: Santa Barbara Mattress
Our readers’ pick for Best Gardening/Landscaping Services once again, Kitson Landscape Management was founded in 1969 by husband-and-wife team Brent and Sally Kitson. The tradition continues today, with Sarah Kitson (Brent and Sally’s eldest daughter) at the helm, and her husband, Dave Fudurich, as the CFO. The booming Santa Barbara County Green Certified Business currently maintains more than 250 major commercial landscape maintenance contracts in the area, where many of their client relationships have lasted for over 25 years.
Runner-Up: EcoLawn S.B.
Solar Power Company
Founded in 2010 as a family-owned business, Sunrise 805 provides solar installation, consulting, and maintenance services to the greater Santa Barbara region. “It is a privilege to be invited into helping with someone’s needs, especially for their home or business,” said Marshall Howen, president/founder. Added Operations Manager Davis Darnall, “We are highly relational with our customers and community, and to have them respond so positively was an awesome affirmation to our team.”
Runner-Up: Brighten Solar Co.
Edward the Fix It Guy
Edward “the Fix It Guy” Laflamme said, “We try our best each and every day. Each of our clients is as important as the client that we just serviced before getting to your home. Thank you for trusting us while you run errands. Thank you for holding the curtain rods, sink basket, or running to the hardware store for materials while we continue to work.”
Runner-Up: Allen Construction
House Cleaning Service
MasterCare Home Cleaning
“Thank you for continuing to support MasterCare as we continue to adapt to this dynamic health/social period,” said owners Robert and Linda Mangione, who’ve won Best Of every year since 2016. “Ensuring MasterCare is cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting the home creates a level of confidence with our clients.”
Runner-Up: Master Clean U.S.A., Inc.
Star Rug Cleaners
“Everyone at Star Rug Cleaners has been working hard through the pandemic, and it pays off when we get the honor of being considered for the best carpet cleaner in Santa Barbara,” said owner Mike Jensen. “We know 2020 hasn’t been an easy year for anyone, and we appreciate everyone who has made it possible for us to stay in business.”
Runner-Up: All Natural Carpet Cleaning
Santa Barbara Home Improvement Center
“Being named best in our category means all the world to us,” said owner Gary Simpson. Remaining open as an essential business “was crucial not only to my team’s well-being, but I honestly believe we exceeded even our own expectations in maintaining very challenging stock levels, and we were able to meet those challenges head-on and serve our community very well. We would like to thank each and every one of our customers for their patience, understanding, and loyalty.”
Runner-Up: Miner’s Ace Hardware
Family-owned-and-operated Tileco has been on the Central Coast since 1977. “We are fortunate to be able to stay open during the pandemic under strict guidelines,” said president Gina Burchiere Flint. “Our employees have shown their passion and strength to help serve our customers through the rebuilding of homes lost in fires, the mudslide, and now during this pandemic. We have a unique opportunity to help build people’s lives back. Thank you for voting for us again and again!”
Runner-Up: Buena Tile + Stone
* This asterisk indicates the winner won in multiple categories.