Sunday, July 22 , 2018, 4:55 am | Fair 66º



Alex Kacik: Changing of the Guard for Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce

Weekly BizHawk column features Steve Cushman's retirement, a new restaurant on the harbor and a new home for a popular Montecito store

One of my favorite stories about Steve Cushman has nothing to do with business.

Still in high school, the highly touted 18-year-old southpaw pitcher was invited to Dodger Stadium, Cushman told me last year as I admired the artwork in his Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce office in downtown Santa Barbara. He ran through a series of drills and workouts with the best young baseball talent in the nation as Dodger legends Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda watched from the stands.

After several rounds of cuts, Cushman got the chance to play summer ball and traveled with guys like Hall-of-Fame pitcher Rollie Fingers. But he initially turned down the opportunity to make a go at the big leagues and elected to go to UCSB instead.

Cushman announced last month that he’s retiring; he served as the chamber president for the past 24 years, the longest-serving president in the organization’s 113-year history. To put it in perspective, Cushman joined the Downtown Organization in 1988 in the middle of the Paseo Nuevo and crosstown freeway projects.

The chamber plans to name an interim president until it finds a replacement, and Cushman will stay on as president until midsummer. Marcia Reed has also stepped down after 19 years as vice president to become development director at Casa Serena. Earlier, chamber marketing director Wendy Figueiredo announced her resignation, as well.

“Our chamber needs someone who knows the business community inside out, just like Steve does,” said Reed, adding that Cushman has been not-so-subtly hinting at retirement over the past five years.

Check back with Noozhawk next week for my story on what’s next for the chamber after its leadership changes.


Santa Barbara will host Startup Weekend this Friday through Sunday at the Synergy Business and Technology Center at 1 N. Calle Cesar Chavez.

Entrepreneurs will have a chance to launch a business in 54 hours during the frenzied three-day event that’s full of coding, design and marketing strategy. Startup Weekend is a Seattle-based nonprofit organization that helps cities host hands-on events at which entrepreneurs can find out if their ideas are viable and turn them into a tangible business plan.

Participants pitch their ideas and build a team on Friday and devote the rest of the weekend to creating a product and trying out their prototypes.

Getting Technical

Gilbert Ortiz taught himself how to deconstruct and assemble iPhones through a YouTube video. Now, Ortiz is opening his third CellTek storefront on Monday at 31 El Paseo next to 24 Hour Fitness.

CellTek is a smartphone repair service that fixes phones as customers watch. It also sells phones and accessories, and buys back old phones.

“There are not many stores in the 805 who will do this,” Ortiz told me last year at his store in Goleta. “We have a pretty unique niche.”

Ortiz can take apart an iPhone in a matter of minutes. Check out the video below to see how.

Read ‘N Post Relocation

The Montecito greeting card store and post office Read ‘N Post plans to open its new 1026 Coast Village Road, Suite B, location in early June after it lost its lease to Vons Pharmacy in April.

The business sells periodicals, greeting cards and novelties and houses a post office. It operated out of its former location at 1046 Coast Village Road for 25 years.


Brophy Bros. owner John Bennett opened a new restaurant two weeks ago at 117 Harbor Way called “On The Alley.” The space was formerly occupied by Minnow Café.

The hostess told me that they serve a little bit of everything, including breakfast burritos, burgers, seafood and sandwiches. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is open everyday from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Moving Up

Classic and luxury vehicle storage company Twenty Four 7 Moving Specialists Inc. celebrated the grand opening Thursday of its 20,400-square-foot space at 26 Castilian Drive in Goleta.

Members of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce and other supporters celebrate the grand opening of Twenty Four 7 Moving Specialists Inc. at 26 Castilian Drive in Goleta.
Members of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce and other supporters celebrate the grand opening of Twenty Four 7 Moving Specialists Inc. at 26 Castilian Drive in Goleta. (Alex Kacik / Noozhawk photo)

The Santa Barbara-based business specializes in moving and storing valuable furniture, art, antiques and classic automobiles. Twenty Four 7 has been transporting valuable objects throughout California since 1993, working closely with interior designers, decorators, art galleries, artists, fine furniture manufacturers, antique dealers and their clients. It recently expanded to vehicle storage after many requests from its clients, owner Brett Menth said.

Another Addition

RussaYog Yoga, which was formerly on the Mesa, has moved to downtown Santa Barbara at 1213 State St. in Victoria Court.

This yoga technique uses free-flowing russas, or ropes, that are secured from a beam in the ceiling. Students then use the rope to support their stretches.

Co-founder Teresa Singh said people with flexibility issues and those who have been hurt doing yoga before often find RussaYog more approachable. Teresa and Jasprit Singh opened their first RussaYog studio in Ann Arbor, Mich., which has been open for more than seven years and has about 500 clients enrolled in classes.

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