After-School Program

Mr. Rob’s Place

“This award is particularly special considering we had to not only try and survive as a business through COVID; more importantly, we were tasked with trying to keep our children safe. We never closed during the pandemic. We shifted our focus and became a provider for those families that needed to work,” says owner Rob Lauderdale. “We are all back in school now and better overall having gone through those difficult times. Regardless of our best plans, we would not be in business if it was not for the Hope School District allowing us to lease our room, our amazing families who trust us every day with their children, and the awesome team at Mr. Rob’s Place.”

Runner-Up: InterAct Theatre School

Dog Trainer

K-Nine Solutions

“Because we were deemed a necessary business, we never closed at any time during the pandemic,” shares Eric Smith, founder/CEO of K-Nine Solutions. “In fact, my team expanded from six to 11, and we moved from a 1,000-square-foot space to a 6,000-square-foot facility in order to meet the demand for our services. We’ve worked tirelessly to accommodate everyone who needed us. My team is why we have been voted Best of S.B. year after year. They deserve this level of recognition from our community and I couldn’t be any more proud of them and what we’ve built.”

Runner-Up: Elite Pup Training

Daycare Facilities

Rainbow School

Providing quality child care to families since 1998, Rainbow School in Goleta offers a wide variety of daycare programs for infants up to pre-kindergarten, as well as after-school care for elementary school children. A previous winner and runner-up in this category many times over, it’s not surprising that Rainbow School is once again the Best Daycare Facility, with parent testimonials like this one: “We are so grateful to have had Rainbow School. … The teachers are attentive and caring. They find a great balance of structure and learning as well as freedom to play and just be kids. The hours are convenient for working parents.” 

Runner-Up: Little Angels Preschool

Kids’ Summer Camp

Zoo Camp at Santa Barbara Zoo

Zoo Camp | Credit: Courtesy

Asked if this award has any special significance to the Zoo Camp team after all that they’ve been through with the pandemic, Director of Education J.J. McLeod says, “This award has significant meaning to us after the past few years. Providing children an opportunity to connect with animals and nature is a privilege for us here at the zoo. Creating a fun, engaging, and safe camp where kids can grow their curiosity for our natural world is what we aim to do.”

Runner-Up: Lobster Jo’s Beach Camp


Dr. Daniel Brennan

Santa Barbara native Dr. Dan Brennan is the epitome of the hometown boy making us all proud as our readers’ top choice for Best Pediatrician once again. “Growing up in Santa Barbara, it was always my dream to come back to my hometown and give back to my community. I feel very fortunate to be able to care for the kids and families in my community for the last 21 years,” says Brennan. “Thank you to my patients and my community for this wonderful recognition. I am so grateful.”

Runner-Up: Dr. Jerold Black

Pet Boarding

Dioji K-9 Resort & Athletic Club

“We love serving Santa Barbara County,” says Dioji K-9 Resort & Athletic Club Owner Jeannie Wendel. “The people here truly love their pets and want the best for them. We are happy to provide a different kind of boarding experience for family dogs: a home-away-from-home where pups can run, play, and swim all day and snuggle up with a human at night — never being caged or secluded. Thank you for voting us Best Pet Boarding for the past 15 years!” 

Runner-Up: Camp Canine

Pet Grooming

The Little Dog House

Illustration by Ben Ciccati

The year 2022 marks 22 years of being top dog in the Best Of category of Pet Grooming for The Little Dog House. Offering a wealth of services for our furry friends since 1975, The Little Dog House provides pet grooming (for both dogs and cats), doggie daycare, and an expertise in providing rare breeds with the specialized treatment they need. Now managed by Tyrelle Leger, this has been our readers’ pick for several years running as the go-to place to keep your pets looking their very best.

Runner-Up: S.B. Paws and Claws

Pet Hospital/Clinic

La Cumbre Animal Hospital

“The La Cumbre Animal Hospital team is honored to be recognized for their compassionate work and dedication to our patients and the local community,” says CEO Beverly Holmes, DVM, who owns the business with Eve Kuesis, DVM. “Since the pandemic, so much has changed, but our love for our work hasn’t. Many of the local veterinary clinics have been recently purchased by large corporations. We will continue to strive toward supporting our local community and environment in every way possible as a woman-owned, local small business. We look forward to seeing more patients get to experience all our new fear-free-designed facility has to offer.”

Runner-Up: St. Francis Pet Clinic

Pet Store

Lemos Feed & Pet Supply

It all began 50 years ago, with Mike Lemos delivering hay and other ranch products to his neighbors, starting Lemos Feed & Pet Supply in 1972. All these decades later, Lemos’s customer-service ethic still rings true. The staff still carries every large bag of pet food to each customer’s car, and they have ongoing training to ensure they know what products will work best for your pet. A Best Of pick for many, many years running, Indy readers consistently comment about the helpful staff and great selection of both essentials and treats for their feathered, furry, and scaly family members. 

Runner-Up: Pet House

Place to Adopt a Pet

Santa Barbara Humane Society

Founded in 1887, the Santa Barbara Humane Society was one of the first animal welfare agencies in the country, getting its start 67 years before the national organization was founded. The organization’s purpose was “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals in the County of Santa Barbara,” a mission that still rings true for this venerable organization. In our first year of recognizing Best Place to Adopt a Pet, the need for these services has never been greater — as a result of the pandemic, there has been a 300 percent increase in requests for financial support from the communities served in the Santa Barbara and Santa Maria locations, and the Santa Barbara Humane Society continues to evolve and adapt to meet the growing need. 

Runner-Up: Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP Cats)

Toy Store • Children’s Clothing Store

Chicken Little

Chicken Little’s Jennifer Bouma helps carry on the family legacy of great customer service. | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom

This charming, family-owned shop has been delighting locals and visitors alike since 1981 (Chicken Little actually opened in 1979 as “Chicken Lips”) with an enticing selection of stuffed animals, intriguing games, and all of the baby loot you can imagine, from strollers to sleepers and bottles to breast pumps, plus every sort of onesie, toddler tog, and a plethora of practical items. A perennial Best Of winner for both Toy Store and Children’s Clothing, founder Paula Bouma’s children, Jennifer and Gregory, now carry on her legacy of amazing customer service, community spirit and a hands-on approach.

Runner-Up (Children’s Clothing Store): Happy Little Hippo

Runner-Up (Toy Store): Bennett’s Toys & Educational Materials



“Thank you to all; it’s an honor to be recognized by the community and cherished by families who’ve journeyed through our program,” say the owners of Kumon, which has centers in both Santa Barbara and Goleta. “We’re ecstatic to see the fruits of our labor every day, as our students continue to apply what they’ve learned in Kumon to succeed at school and beyond. It’s amazing the educational independence and confidence your children have built throughout the Kumon series, and it could not have been done without the help from you as their family support!”

Runner-Up: California Learning Center

Chicken Little | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom
See all of the winners in our “Best of Santa Barbara® 2022” cover here.