Press Release: Regional Business Awards Winners Announced: Celebration  Luncheon will be held on February 25th

Monday, January 24, 2022
Stephanie Armstrong, Chief Marketing Officer
Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce
Phone: 805.967.2500 Ext. 102

Regional Business Awards Winners Announced: Celebration  Luncheon will be held on February 25th

SANTA BARBARA, CA – The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, from Goleta to Carpinteria is proud to announce the winners of the Regional Business Awards that will be presented at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting & Regional Business Awards Luncheon on Friday, February 25th at the Hilton Beachfront Resort in the rotunda. This event was originally scheduled for February 4th but due to the recent surge in Covid cases, the date was changed to be able to safely gather for one of the Chamber’s first in-person events of the year.

“We are excited for this annual event as it will be the first time we are hosting this since the merger of our organization over a year and a half ago,” said Kristen Miller, President & CEO of the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce. “From Goleta to Carpinteria, we are looking forward to honoring the phenomenal businesses who create our thriving business economy and uplift our quality of life.”

The award recipients will be honored with a luncheon celebration on Friday, February 25th (11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.) at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort in the rotunda. The afternoon will include an annual membership meeting where the 2022 Executive Officers and Board members will be formally installed and the outgoing Board members will be celebrated for their contributions to the organization, followed by the Regional Business Awards ceremony.


The Regional Business Awards Winners are:


Large Business of the Year – Cox Communications
Cox Communications has invested $15 billion in infrastructure across the country over the past 10 years and is currently investing another $10 billion over the next 5 years to enhance its network and enable future technologies, including many projects throughout the Santa Barbara South Coast community. As communities are more reliant on virtual connections than ever before, Cox has led impressive investments in its network and infrastructure, including the completion of a state-of-the-art critical facility in late 2021 and network upgrades throughout the region to enhance reliability and resiliency, enabling the Cox network to continue to power the smart homes, businesses, and communities of today and the future. Additionally, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cox reaffirmed its commitment to provide programming to bridge the digital divide, including ConnectAssist providing affordable Internet service for households who receive government assistance, Connect2Compete providing low-cost Internet service for families receiving government assistance with K-12 students, and participating in the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program (the Affordable Connectivity Program, as of December 31, 2021).

Small Business of the Year – Hilltop Flowers Inc.
It’s hard to believe that what started as a simple Future Farmers of America (FFA) project at Carpinteria High School in 1976 would turn into a thriving business that has lasted over 45 years. Hilltop Flowers Inc. was started by John and Vera Welty, who began by growing baby’s breath and statice. This family-owned and operated company continued to expand over the years and through the generations being led today by their daughter, Karen Graf. Hilltop Flowers Inc. ships wholesale across the country. The Welty family has donated flowers to many nonprofit organizations in Carpinteria and Santa Barbara. Vera would share her talent of flower arranging and provide centerpieces to many local fundraisers, including the beloved Carpinteria Awards Banquet (now the Carpinteria Community Awards Gala). During the pandemic, when the flower distribution chain stopped, flowers were given out to senior residences, Foodbank distribution, and at the local post office. One common theme for Hilltop Flowers and the Welty family is the act of giving and service as demonstrated by their actions all these years.

Entrepreneur of the Year – Chris Chiarappa, Santa Barbara Restaurant Collective
In 2021 Chris Chiarappa launched the Santa Barbara Restaurant Collective. Within five years, he has been responsible for launching three Mesa Burgers, three Light House Coffee locations, M-Kitchen in the M. Special brewery in Downtown Santa Barbara, Corner Tap, and is preparing to open several additional enterprises within the next two years. What is most phenomenal is that Chris is not a restauranteur by trade. Previously in medical device sales, Chris quit that career to pursue a passion concept dreamed up nearly ten years ago on a surf trip to Mexico with friends. The driving force behind Chris’ motivation is to give back to the community and the people who make this place so special.

Non-Profit of the Year – Better Together Fund
When Dave Powers, CEO & President of Deckers Brands saw that the impact of COVID-19 would be devastating to the community, which has seen its fair share of tragedy in recent years, he began the Santa Barbara Better Together Fund, which was officially established in March of 2020 as a field of interest committee-advised fund in partnership with the Santa Barbara Foundation. This fund relied on the generosity of Deckers along with funding from each of the county’s municipalities and individual donors. Their combined efforts raised over $1 million which were then granted to over 150 small businesses in the region. By partnering with the Santa Barbara Foundation, not only did they secure funding capability that would extend beyond Deckers but ensured that the support went directly to businesses in need. What started as a crisis mode response, has pivoted into creating long-term strategies for lasting community support. The Better Together Fund committee has identified three key focus areas: retaining and supporting small businesses during times of crisis, recruitment of businesses to the area to restore economic vitality, and engaging corporations to be community-minded and aid in solving some of the bigger problems in the community. Santa Barbara Better Together has a mission to invite more local corporations to step up similarly and is hopeful that businesses will see the value in being a changemaker in the community, making it better together.

Milestone Business Award – E. J. Harrison & Sons
Celebrating its 90th anniversary, Harrison Industries provides residential, commercial, and industrial trash and recycling collection service to 90,000 customers in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Harrison Industries has been at the forefront of California’s recycling movement for the past three decades. Founded in Ventura in 1932, the company started with a single truck driven by E.J. Harrison, who hauled his Ventura neighbors’ trash to local dumps for 75 cents a load, and his wife, Myra, who helped to start and run the business. After nearly 90 years, Harrison has remained a strong and thriving family business – today run by three generations of Harrisons including E.J. and Myra’s sons, Myron, Jim, and Ralph. Harrison Industries has made a major commitment to several non-profits and to youth organizations in the communities they serve. Harrison is also involved in business development with memberships in diverse organizations, all working to better the business climate for existing and new businesses. Harrison also helps to sponsor many fundraising events throughout the year held by a wide variety of charities and non-profits, including FOOD Share, Casa Pacifica, Project Understanding, American Cancer Society – Relay for Life, American Red Cross, Boys Scouts, and Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, Earth Day celebrations, Music festivals, and Turning Point Foundation to name a few.

Hospitality Award – Visit Santa Barbara
Visit Santa Barbara played an invaluable leadership role in the regional tourism industry’s pandemic response and our community’s larger economic recovery. Their organization was instrumental in providing clear and consistent communication internally and externally around the rapid changes and mandates due to the Covid pandemic. Travel and hospitality were among the hardest hit industry locally during the pandemic, and the Visit Santa Barbara team dedicated themselves to supporting local businesses. Throughout the pandemic, Visit Santa Barbara remained extraordinarily focused and nimble to drive the most immediate returns for the community. They were amongst the first Destination Marketing Organizations who opted not to wait for visitor-generated revenues to rebound because they knew their prompt marketing investments would make a difference for local businesses and get residents back to work more quickly. Their prompt response and marketing investments positioned our region for a fast recovery. Whether they are promoting our arts and cultural institutions, championing small businesses and culinary artisans, or bringing lucrative conferences and meetings to the area, VSB makes our community stand out in a way that is authentic, positive, and creative.

Community Business of the Year – Mariposa at Ellwood Shores
Mariposa at Ellwood Shores Assisted Living in Santa Barbara County is a warm, inviting senior living community designed for the care and comfort of its residents. Opened in October of 2017, they provide fully independent, assisted living as well as memory care options depending on the need. During this unprecedented pandemic, Mariposa at Ellwood Shores was proactive in keeping their residents safe and was successful in doing so while growing their business to experience a 45% revenue jump in the last two years, while continuing to employ local community members as the business grew. Now their campus is fully occupied as the families of Goleta and Santa Barbara have come to trust Mariposa as the best option for senior living in the local area and their success despite being in a global pandemic. This community goes above and beyond when serving its residents, taking care of staff, and staying connected within the community. They are committed to protecting our most vulnerable community members with constant testing, vaccination clinics, and the distribution of information.

Special Recognition – Local Community Banks (American Riviera Bank, Community West Bank, Montecito Bank & Trust, Pacific Premier Bank)
In 2020 and 2021 our local community banks came to assist local businesses as they navigated one of the most unexpected obstacles that they have ever had to face. When businesses were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, daily operations for businesses were uprooted and business owners took on new worries like how to keep employees on payroll and what to do about lost revenue. The local community banks stepped in to help decipher the regulations and requirements for businesses to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and assist businesses with qualifying for the much-needed forgiveness of the loans. The local community banks also assisted businesses with qualifying for and securing SBA Economic Injury and Disaster Loans. Without the help of our local community banks, businesses would have been worse for the wear during an already dire time.

Ambassador of the Year – Angela Miller-Bevan
Angela Miller-Bevan has been an ambassador for the Chamber for over 10 years and has helped in many ways especially through the annual Goleta Lemon Festival celebration. Being a Santa Barbara native and a resident of Goleta for 10 years, she learned the value of volunteering at an early age and the sense of community she receives from showing up and serving. Angela additionally has served on many other nonprofit boards and volunteered for various organizations including CADA (Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse), PAL (Police Activities League), the Carriage Museum, Old Spanish Days Fiesta, Kiwanis Club, and Special Olympics to name a few. Her passion for giving back to the community is what lead her to work in the nonprofit world. She has been a part of the American Heart Association and now the Braille Institute of Santa Barbara. Angela is an integral part of the Chamber Ambassador team, and we are delighted to honor her as the Ambassador of the Year.

Chairman’s Award – Tom Patton
The Chairman’s Award is given to the board member, Chamber member, or entity that has been most integral to the success of the Chairman’s year leading the Chamber. This year’s recipient is none other than Tom Patton of the Ramada by Wyndham Santa Barbara. Tom has been a member of the Chamber and has served on the Board for many years. In 2021, Tom stepped in and provided critical leadership and insights to our Chamber during the challenging times that we faced amidst the pandemic. His connection and role with the California Hotel and Lodging Association provided our organization and region with invaluable information on industry best practices according to state mandates and the fluid changes due to the pandemic. In doing so he also was a strong advocate for our region on a state level. He’s led the Hospitality Committee as our hospitality and leisure members continue to face unexpected and changing challenges due to COVID, he’s joined our Business Action Committee and added his voice at a time where our local policy and political influence is more important than ever, and he has brought valuable wisdom and guidance to our Board meetings as we shape our priorities and programs.

Please join us for this memorable luncheon. Tickets to attend the Annual Membership Meeting & Regional Business Awards are $125 per person. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Please contact the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce at or 805-967-2500 ext. 105 in advance to secure your seats!

The Annual Membership Meeting & Regional Business Awards is presented by the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce.

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors: American Riviera Bank, Montecito Bank & Trust, Pacific Premier Bank, Plains All American Pipeline, Union Bank.

We would also like to thank our Event Sponsors: Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, CARP Growers, Community West Bank, Cottage Health, Mariposa at Ellwood Shores, Southwest Airlines, The Towbes Group.

Table Sponsors include Agilent Technologies, Atlantic Aviation, Braille Institute, Chevron, Courtyard Marriott Santa Barbara Goleta, Cox Communications, Deckers Brands, ExxonMobil, Jordano’s, LinkedIn, MarBorg Industries, Noozhawk, Residence Inn Marriott Santa Barbara Goleta, Santa Barbara Airport, Santa Barbara City College Foundation, Santa Barbara Independent, Santa Barbara Zoo, Signature Flight Support, Southern California Edison, The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Teledyne FLIR, University of California Santa Barbara, Village Properties.

For more sponsorship information, please contact the Chamber at 805-967-2500 ext. 105, or