Thursday, May 26 , 2016, 11:02 pm | Fair 59º

BizHawk: Lemos Feed & Pet Supply Has New Home in Goleta

In other news, Snack Shack space on State Street attracts interest, county's jobless rate dips and American Riviera Bank will open in Montecito

By Zac Estrada, Noozhawk Contributing Writer | @zacestrada |

Lemos Feed & Pet Supply’s Goleta location is about to get more attention now that it has moved off of South Kellogg Avenue and next to the busy Calle Real Shopping Center.

At least that’s what general manager Paul Benedix hopes happens.

Lemos, a 40-year-old company with locations throughout the Central Coast and known for vast selections of specialty animal feed and pet food, opened its new Goleta location at 5880B Calle Real last week after spending the better part of a decade across from Santa Barbara Nissan. Ironically, the new store is two doors down from where Lemos first opened a Goleta store in 2001, according to Benedix.

“When we first opened in Goleta, where Walgreens is now, we had a 17-month lease before Walgreens was going to come and tear it down,” prompting the move to South Kellogg Avenue, he said. “We loved being on Calle Real because we had great exposure.”

The new Calle Real space is across from a busy part of the road between the Patterson Avenue and Fairview Road exits off Highway 101, and across the street from Trader Joe’s and other stores.

“The new location will bring in foot traffic along with people who are shopping elsewhere in the Calle Real Marketplace,” Benedix said. “The old location had some overflow from the car dealers on Kellogg, but you’re not really going to go buy a new Prius and then think, ‘Oh, I need cat litter.’”

At 3,900 square feet, the new store is no larger than the old location and only slightly smaller than Lemos’ Carpinteria and Santa Barbara locations. But Goleta has been a top-four performer, Benedix said, and should do better now that it’s on a main street.

Benedix said the parking situation is now generous, basically a prerequisite for any of the company’s stores.

Lemos Goleta will hold a grand opening sale Oct. 10-14, with a celebration that Saturday. Benedix said the Oct. 13 event will have free food and a raffle for giveaways such as free dog food for a year.

Snack Shack Down, But Possibly Not Out

That was quick.

If you missed the Snack Shack burger restaurant while it was open, you’re probably not alone. The eatery started serving burgers and sandwiches from the 801 State St. location adjacent to Paseo Nuevo in late July, but owner Jim Keller abruptly shut its doors about two weeks ago.

It wasn’t due to slow sales, according Jason Jaeger of Jaeger Partners, which represents the landlord in the sublease of the property.

“Sales were actually quite strong,” Jaeger said, “but (Jim) is from Napa and really wanted to be with his family.”

Jaeger said that while Keller had an innovative concept of serving cooked-to-order fast food that was healthier and higher quality than most of the low-end food available in the downtown area, business wasn’t robust enough to stop Keller from moving back home where he was a real estate agent.

But the property underwent extensive renovations inside, with a new kitchen before Snack Shack opened. And Jaeger said that even though the listing went up 10 days ago, he’s received serious interest from a handful of clients. Those clients include a local restauranteur interested in restarting a burger stand there, and a national retailer.

“There’s a lot of interest trying to seize the opportunity for this great location,” Jaeger said.

The 801 State St. space features 1,860 square feet of indoor room with a 729-square-foot patio, going for $5 per square foot gross.

While it’s more likely a new business will take over the prime real estate in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, there’s a chance the Snack Shack could start serving customers again.

Santa Barbara County Unemployment Rate Ticks Down

Slowly but surely, Santa Barbara County’s unemployment figures trend downward as the latest figures reveal a decline of 0.3 percent, to 7.6 percent in August, according to a news release this week from the Workforce Investment Board.

Compare August’s 7.6 percent figure to the 9 percent unemployment rate at the same time last year, the 10.6 percent rate statewide and the 8.1 percent figure nationally, and Santa Barbara County comes off well.

Jobs in the government sector surged in August, with big gains also reported in construction, education and health services, professional and business services and hospitality — already Santa Barbara County’s biggest industries.

American Riviera Bank Trumpets New Montecito Branch

There will be a new name in the set of banks in Montecito’s Upper Village early next year, when American Riviera Bank opens a branch.

The new bank, joining the company’s downtown Santa Barbara location, will be at 525 San Ysidro Road and in a new part of the retail center behind the San Ysidro Pharmacy, company officials said in a news release.

“We have a considerable amount of existing clients and shareholders that live in Montecito, and they have been asking us for years when we would open a branch there,” bank president and CEO Jeff DeVine said.

American Riviera, which opened in 2006, reported a successful year so far, with loans up 21 percent and deposits 18 percent as of June 30, compared with the same period in 2011. They’ve also added seven employees since mid-2011.

BizHawk is published each Friday and includes items of interest to the business community. Share your news by emailing items to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Noozhawk contributing writer Zac Estrada can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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