The 2023 Latino Business Awards were held at the Arlington Theatre on Saturday, July 29 | Credit: Ryan P. Cruz

It was a familiar sight at the Arlington Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara Saturday night, with stretch limos stopping in front of the curb and beautiful people wearing their best clothes spilling out onto the red carpet to the sound of popping camera flashes echoing off the red-tiled walkway. But instead of movie stars and world-famous directors, it was Santa Barbara’s unsung business owners and entrepreneurs from the Latino community — landscapers, restaurateurs, Realtors, and shop owners — finally getting a long-deserved night in the spotlight and a chance to win the bragging rights of being the people’s choice for the 2023 Latino Business Awards.

Best in Wellness winner Jessica Medina (left) of Atrévete al Cambio Wellness Center and Latino Business Awards host Gissele Bravo. | Credit: Ryan P. Cruz

The second annual awards show was organized by Andy Gálvez of Miranda Entertainment, who started the Latino Business Awards last year as a way to celebrate the often-overlooked and overworked business owners in the Latino community who rarely get the chance to stop and celebrate their successes. Gálvez, a Guatemala–born Santa Barbara resident who started his entertainment company after enjoying a career as a musician, said he wanted hard-working people to feel what it was like to be on the red carpet, something he was able to experience as a musician invited to the Latin Grammys in 2018.

This year’s event was a bit smaller and more intimate than last year’s, but the show was much smoother this time around, with hosts Giselle Bravo and Don Silvero and dozens of presenters for the nearly 50 different categories ranging from “Innovative Business of the Year” to “Best Birria” to “Best in Wellness.” The show also featured several Latino musicians, including Mexican-American singer Luis Coronel and Santa Barbara-born-and-bred rapper SadBoy Loko

The winners were chosen after several weeks of online voting, with more than 100,000 votes being counted for all combined categories. Winners were announced live onstage Saturday, and each received a glass plaque and certificates of recognition signed by Senator Monique Limón, who was also in attendance at the show.

Some of the winners included David Reynoso of Dave’s Dogs and Dave’s Drip House (Latino Businessman of the Year), Jessica Medina of Atrévete al Cambio Integral Wellness Center (Best in Wellness), Jonathan Estrada of Yona Redz (Best Birria), and Grecia Pizano and Richy Gonzalez of Lu’s Strawberries (Best Sweets & Munchies). 

For more winners and videos, check @latinobusinessawards on Instagram.

Mexican-American musician Luis Coronel on the red carpet before his live performance. | Credit: Ryan P. Cruz


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