The Carey Group Inc., a local architecture and building firm, was found in March 1979 in a hole-in-the-wall office on Canon Perdido.
Today, the business is located in an architectural loft (designed and built by the firm) off Calle Real and Patterson Avenue. What started as a boutique architectural firm has grown into a diverse company that includes architecture, construction, real estate development, self storage and, most recently, wine storage.
Carey has been joined in the office by her two sons, Sam and Nathan. Sam is a graduate of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado where he majored in marketing and Spanish. Nathan, eager to learn more about the business while not being too far away from good surf, attended SBCCand Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, studying construction management.
Sam spearheads the company’s marketing department, and Nathan is the “man on the roofs,” as construction manager. It is truly a family affair, as longtime Carey Group employees’ remember when the boys were born and would come to the office after school.
In 1979, The Carey Group Inc. had only five employees. Today, depending on the venture, the firm averages 15 to 20. Carey credits her coworkers for the company’s growth, as they are the ones who really make it a successful business, she said.
Office administrator Bertha Fenske has worked with the company for 25 years, and CFO Gayle Rodriquez for 18. Bob Odale, head of construction, has been with the company ffor 23 years and self-storage director Jane Jewell for more than 10.
Visitors to Santa Barbara can see Carey Group homes and commercial buildings all around the community, most recently the 10 new homes built off of Camino Campana. Carey’s designs hold true to her passion for detail and livability.
Also, a tremendous amount of community involvement goes into her developments. Carey makes it a point to get in touch with neighbors of her new homes to gain input and personally discuss the project.
Development is only one part of today’s Carey Group, however. In 1996 the company branched out and constructed All Store Self Storage in Buellton, and continued to manage it, as well. The company later built two more self-storage centers in Santa Barbara, Patterson Allstore and Patterson Plus. These are not your typical self-storage centers.
Carey maintains a high-quality level for the properties, and efforts can be seen in the design, lush landscaping and pristine upkeep of all facets of the properties.
“Basically, we treat our clients like we would like to be treated,” Carey said. “We think ahead how to give them the best experience possible. We are probably the only self storage that on a hot day, a manager will bring ice-cold bottled water to your space. Moving can be stressful and our goal is to be the most helpful person in their moving process.”
The company continues to grow as it ventures into wine storage.
“With the wine craze becoming so popular, it was just a logical next step for us,” Carey said. Thus, Santa Barbara Cellars was conceived. It is here where Carey goes above and beyond expectations for wine clients. The new state-of-the-art wine cellars has been referred to as “over the top” by reviewers.
“Success comes from having the right people and we wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for our incredible employees that have found a home in The Carey Group,” she said. “It was our luckiest day when we met each one of them.”