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Wednesday, February 20 , 2019, 3:54 am | Fair 41º


Montecito Starbucks Loses More Than a Manager in Kevin Ziegler

Popular with customers and employees alike, subject of Noozhawk series has a new job with CKE Enterprises

Mornings at the Montecito Starbucks won’t be quite as bright after a bittersweet goodbye took place Sunday. Dozens of regulars said farewell to store manager Kevin Ziegler, and after four years, many of them are less like customers and more like family.

The preschool twins of a regular customer bring in their school projects to show Ziegler every week, and some of the baristas with whom he works even call him dad.

Although leaving is bittersweet, Ziegler is excited about where his life is taking him. After being with Starbucks for nine years, he has already started his new job as a district manager for CKE Enterprises, the Carpinteria-based parent company of brands like Carl’s Jr.

Ziegler got the position because word of his work at the store at 1046-A Coast Village Road reached the right people.

“A customer shared their experience and said ‘You really have to check out what this guy is doing,’” he said.

Within three days of an interview, the company had offered him the job.

The last year has been a time of great change for Ziegler and his family. In November, Noozhawk published a story about the Zieglers after they were told they had a little over a month to move out of the Ventura mobile home where they were living. Ziegler and his wife, Tammy, have three biological children, one adopted child and two foster sons, and the structure was deemed too small for eight people, according to the mobile home community’s bylaws.

Just in time for Christmas, the Zieglers found a rental house in Ventura big enough for the family, but they’re still trying to sell the mobile home.

In addition to the new job opportunity, the Zieglers expect to find out Monday whether the adoption of two of their foster children has been finalized.

“It’s a humbling experience to be involved with so many people’s lives,” said Ziegler, adding that he’s excited about paying it forward.

One dream he mentions is opening a foster-care facility and naming it after those who have helped him.

“Leaving a legacy is probably the most important thing to me,” he said.

Saying goodbye to his employees has been the hardest part of the transition from Starbucks, Ziegler said.

“Some of them call you dad and come to you for fatherly advice,” he said.

It wasn't just customers who bid farewell to Kevin Ziegler on Sunday at the Montecito Starbucks; former employees showed up to say goodbye, too.
It wasn’t just customers who bid farewell to Kevin Ziegler on Sunday at the Montecito Starbucks; former employees showed up to say goodbye, too. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Ziegler makes it a point to say that all those employees weren’t working for him, but the other way around.

Of the new manager at the store, Ziegler said he hopes she’ll take what he’s left and “make it better.”

Ziegler’s family was at the store Sunday.

“It’s mixed emotions because of the family connections here,” Tammy Ziegler said.

“I just love watching him interact with everybody,” she added as her husband greeted people throughout the store.

Silena Smith-Shamey worked with Ziegler at a Starbucks in Westlake Village, and had driven up with two other former employees Sunday to wish Ziegler well.

“I’ve never had a better boss,” she said. “I’m glad he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves.”

Lynda Miller was also among those who came out to support Ziegler. The founder of Support for the Kids, a nonprofit organization that assists foster children, Miller first met Ziegler when she approached him at his Westlake Village store about fundraising for the group. Ziegler went above and beyond with his support, and even dressed up as Santa one year at the group’s Christmas party for foster children.

Tammy Ziegler said working with Support for the Kids opened up the idea of foster care for the family.

When asked what he’d tell longtime regulars who didn’t get to stop by Sunday morning, Ziegler got straight to the point.

“I would tell them you haven’t heard the last of me, and thank you for making a difference in my family’s life,” he said.

The Zieglers Support Fund opened by Noozhawk to assist the family is still accepting donations at Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, 20 E. Carrillo St., Santa Barbara 93101. Donations are not tax-deductible, but may be made at any SBB&T branch or Pacific Capital Bancorp affiliate. Checks also can be mailed to the Zieglers Support Fund, c/o Noozhawk, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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