PRESS RELEASE: Regional Business Award Winners
January 19, 2023
Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce Announces Regional Business Award Winners
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 Membership Meeting & Regional Business Awards luncheon on Thursday, February 2, 2023.
“We are excited to be honoring these phenomenal organizations who contribute to a strong business economy and inspire quality of life in our communities,” said Kristen Miller, President & CEO of the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce. It is important to the Chamber that we recognize and celebrate the businesses in our community that have made a significant impact on the South Coast and thank them for their contributions to economic vitality and support within the community.
The award recipients will be honored at a luncheon on February 2 at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. The celebration will include an annual membership meeting where the 2023 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 – Village Properties
Residential real estate is such an important part of the South Coast’s economy, particularly in the past year with fluctuations in the market effecting so many people’s lives. As we recover from the pandemic, Village Properties has worked with the Chamber of Commerce to provide critical data about the market securing their spot as a leader in the Santa Barbara real estate market. Since 1996, Village Properties has been Locally owned and operated with pride, it is their mission to serve the Santa Barbara region and its people with dedication. As they say, “we do more”, but that doesn’t just apply to their real estate transactions and clients, but also their community. Village Properties owners and agents teach, coach, volunteer, fundraise, and champion non-profits to make a difference in the communities that they serve. Most significantly, the Village Properties Teacher’s Fund (Teacher’s Fund) was created to help Santa Barbara County teachers get the tools and materials they need for their classrooms and their students. Renee Grubb, the owner of Village Properties, established the Teachers Fund in 2002. Village Properties and several of their real estate agents supported the Teacher’s Fund and were the sole donors for several years until the non-profit’s mission and reputation were established. The Teacher’s Fund has granted more than $1.9 million to Santa Barbara County public and private kindergarten, Elementary, Middle, and High School teachers since its inception! Village Properties and their agents are dedicated to their support of over 30 local organizations including the American Heart Association, Lotusland, Santa Barbara Zoo, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, and Dream Foundation, just to name a few.
Small Business of the Year – JR Bookkeeping
JR Bookkeeping was started in 2012 by sisters Juliana and Natalia Ramirez. Besides being friendly, responsive, and hardworking bookkeepers, they are passionate about supporting and investing in the community. They started their business in their living room and now have grown to serve Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, celebrating their 10-year anniversary last April. They advocate for the success and growth of fellow small businesses through educational webinars, sharing business resources, and spending quality time with their clients. In the past ten years, Juliana and Natalia have employed more than forty individuals, the majority of whom have been women, and several have gone on to start bookkeeping businesses of their own. JR Bookkeeping enjoys giving back to the community through several local organizations that were instrumental in their success in the early years. Juliana serves as a volunteer, mentor, and teacher for local organizations such as Women’s Economic Ventures, SCORE, and Economic Development Collaborative.
Non-Profit of the Year – United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County
In 1938, leaders in Santa Barbara recognized a need for a community youth center. Too many young boys had no place to go outside of school so local firefighters stepped up to turn their old station into the Boys’ Club of Santa Barbara. What is now the Downtown Boys & Girls Club was completed in 1947 after a large community effort by local philanthropists, tradesmen, government leaders, and families. Today, the organization is thriving with locations in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Lompoc, Buellton, and Solvang, serving the youth of the highest needs. In 2020, they became the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County, bringing together the operations for all of the clubs in the County. In 2021, the clubs opened as full-day learning and enrichment centers while schools remained closed. They also started serving hot dinners at all club locations as part of the Zero Hunger Food Program. Feeding their members where over two-thirds qualify for free or reduced lunch programs at their schools. Remarkably, the annual membership fee has remained at $40, and no child is turned away from services due to their economic situation. The clubs are an essential foundation for youth in our communities, serving over 3,000 youth annually. They provide a safe, positive place to learn and grow. They offer tutoring, sports, and after-school meals along with mentoring groups, education programs, and affordable summer camps, creating better futures for children and our community.
Community Business of the Year – Momentum WORK Inc.
Amidst historic pressures on the workforce and pandemic induced labor shortage, Momentum WORK has provided a key bridge between local businesses who need a reliable workforce and people with disabilities who are able to contribute and want meaningful jobs in a dynamic career. Momentum WORK, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering people with disabilities by providing access to innovative services that support personal and professional growth. Serving the disability community for over 54 years, the organization is deeply committed to practicing Person-Centered services which value a person’s individuality, personal preferences, satisfaction, and choice of support. With a vision of “inclusion for all”, the organization advocates that disability rights are human rights, and works to eliminate access barriers for this underserved population. Through nine comprehensive programs throughout Santa Barbara County, Momentum WORK, Inc.’s professional care staff remains dedicated to ensuring employability, independence, and quality of life for the 272 people they serve. Momentum WORK, Inc. was recently awarded a 3-Year CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) accreditation which signals a service provider’s commitment to continually improving services, encouraging feedback and serving the community. Accreditation demonstrates that Momentum WORK, Inc. has made a specific commitment to put the needs of its participants at the center of everything they do. With offices in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, and Carpinteria, their services reach throughout the Tri-Counties.
Hospitality Business of the Year – Santa Barbara Adventure Co.
Celebrating 25 years this year, Santa Barbara Adventure Company has been a vibrant hospitality business supporting the South Coast tourism industry for many years. Though the last few years have been difficult, Santa Barbara Adventure Company has weathered the storm and continued to be a strong part of the local tourism industry, an industry that is so important to our economy. Dedicated to providing outdoor education to youth groups, troupes, and schools, their guides are well versed in local knowledge, from marine ecology and edible plants to Chumash culture and our Spanish Colonial heritage. Whether you’re biking through wine country, kayaking among dolphins and curious sea lions, or hiking to a climbing site, their adventures are as informative as they are fun. Interesting Natural and Human History are elements of every Santa Barbara Adventure Company experience. Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Michael Cohen started Santa Barbara Adventure Company in 1998 with the goal of offering local adventures of the highest quality led by incredible guides. Michael has been active on several boards including Visit Santa Barbara, NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, and America Outdoors. He also supports various schools, non-profits, and community organizations with donations and more. Mike believes environmental responsibility is paramount to his company’s ethos. As such, his team incorporates financial and logistical incentives to reuse, repair, upcycle, and reduce their carbon footprint through composting, electronic paperwork, recycling, zero waste reporting, waste management training, and awarding employees for zero waste practices.
Entrepreneur of the Year – Kyanna Isaacson
Planting roots on the South Coast just over a year ago, Kyanna Isaacson quickly found her path and set out to make a significant impression on this community. But that’s no surprise considering her undeniable entrepreneurial spirit that started when she was a junior in high school. Back in Valencia, Kyanna started working at Jersey Mike’s when she was just 16 years old. She was a quick learner with interests in every facet of the business, working her way through the ranks as a crewmember, shift leader, supervisor, general manager, and finally as operations manager overseeing five restaurants in the Santa Clarita Valley. In 2016, Isaacson was named Manager of the Year, and as part of her prize, Jersey Mike’s Founder Peter Cancro surprised her with her own franchise. Unique in Jersey Mike’s company culture, the STAY program (Sweat Tears And Years) rewards hard-working managers to partner with mentors/franchisees to become owners.
Fast forward to December 2021, Isaacson opens her first store in the Santa Barbara/Goleta area on Fairview and since has opened two more locations on Turnpike and at Camino Real Marketplace. In this short time, Kyanna’s generosity shines bright in the community. She chooses her locations carefully in order to give back to the community that supports her restaurants. She is always the first to help non-profits asking for donations, and she generously supports many local schools and charities because of her business. In a 2017 interview, Isaacson started, “I always want to work at Jersey Mike’s. This is all I’ve ever wanted to do.” She is truly as “SUB ABOVE” and a cherished new member of our community.
Green Business of the Year – BEGA North America
Located near the coastline, just south of Santa Barbara in Carpinteria California, you’ll find the state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters of BEGA North America. BEGA, a lighting manufacturer known worldwide for its exceptional quality and high-end products, is dedicated to the local South Coast community. In 2022, BEGA invested more than $4 million in solar energy production to power its electrical needs at the Carpinteria campus, eliminating reliance on traditional sources of electricity and reducing its carbon footprint by 903 metric tons annually. The solar energy project included 2,008 fully recyclable solar panels capable of generating an estimated annual production of 1,274,317 kWh of electricity. Complimented by two Tesla megapack battery storage systems, BEGA’s facility now has the potential to produce more energy than it consumes, remain fully functional in the event of major power outages, and easily navigate seasonal marine layers often experienced in the City of Carpinteria. Don Kinderdick, President of BEGA North America, commented, “At BEGA, the pursuit of world-class extends well beyond product design and manufacturing excellence. We are committed to living responsibly, understand success is not just reflected in the profit and loss statement, and fundamentally believe in our ability to do good by being good. This project is just one part of our ongoing efforts to pursue environmental sustainability, zero landfill waste management, carbon neutral manufacturing, and energy independence.”
Milestone Business Award – Santa Barbara Zoo
First opening to the public in 1963, the Santa Barbara Zoo is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, deserving of the Milestone Business Award! With nearly half a million guest visits each year and nearly 15,000 Zoo member households, the Santa Barbara Zoo is both a beloved community resource and a top tourist attraction. 2022 was a big year for the Zoo! Last year, the Zoo introduced ZooLights, an immersive holiday experience featuring thousands of handcrafted silk-covered lanterns aglow with more than 50,000 LED bulbs. The Zoo’s “Early Explorers” program became the first licensed outdoor preschool in California – becoming a trailblazing preschool program in the state to connect young children with nature in a truly immersive and meaningful way. And, the Zoo opened its newest habitat, the “Australian Walkabout” featuring kangaroos, wallabies, and emus and welcoming the public to walk alongside these Australian native animals to gain a better appreciation for these incredible species. In addition, last year, the Zoo recertified as an Autism Center, employed more than 300 regular and seasonal staff members, and gave back more than $200,000 to support families, schools, and other nonprofits to ensure that the Zoo is accessible to everyone. With more than 500 volunteers, the Zoo is home to 457 animals representing 112 species. A certified Green Business, accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and licensed by the US Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Zoo actively contributes to and participates in many local wildlife conservation programs.
Tickets to attend the Regional Business Awards are $125 per person. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available at SBSCChamber.com. The Annual Membership Meeting and Regional Business Awards will be held on Thursday, February 2, 2023, from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. Have questions about the event, please contact Chelsea Weininger, Events Coordinator at Chelsea@sbscchamber.com.
The Regional Business Awards is presented by the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, from Goleta to Carpinteria. For sponsorship information, please contact Michele at 805-967-2500 ext. 105 or Michele@SBSCChamber.com.
Many thanks to our Sponsors:
Presenting Sponsors: Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Community West Bank, Montecito Bank & Trust, Pacific Premier Bank, Solomon Hills, UCLA Health, Village Properties, and Visit Santa Barbara.
Corporate Sponsors: Agilent Technologies, American Riviera Bank, Atlantic Aviation, Carpe Data, Chevron, Cottage Health, Courtyard Marriott Santa Barbara Goleta, Cox Communications, Edhat, Exxon Mobile, Latitude 34 Technologies, LinkedIn, Marborg Industries, Noozhawk, Pacific Coast Business Times, Pacific Pipeline Company, Residence Inn Marriott Santa Barbara Goleta, Rusty’s Pizza, Santa Barbara Airport, Santa Barbara City College Foundation, Santa Barbara Independent, Santa Barbara Zoo, Signature Flight Support, Southwest Airlines, Southern California Edison, The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Teledyne FLIR, and UC Santa Barbara.
About Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce
The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, from Goleta to Carpinteria, is a regional, business organization with the mission to help South Coast businesses, residents, and visitors thrive. Through leadership and collaboration, the Chamber is the principal economic development entity advocating for the business community. We engage with businesses, elected officials, and regional partners in proactive business initiatives that foster the South Coast’s unique business environment and create opportunities for our communities. The Chamber is proud to represent local business members who create 75,000 jobs on the South Coast! To learn more, visit sbscchamber.com.
Mary Lynn Harms-Romo
Director of Communications