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BizHawk: Bennett’s Toys & Educational Materials Finds New Owner

Camarillo-based Institution Ale Company Coming to State Street

Kurt and Lisa Richter, seen here with daughters Samantha and Sabrina, have purchased Bennett’s Toys & Educational Materials near Goleta. Click to view larger
Kurt and Lisa Richter, seen here with daughters Samantha and Sabrina, have purchased Bennett’s Toys & Educational Materials near Goleta. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

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Bennett’s Toys & Educational Materials has a new owner.

Santa Barbara natives Kurt and Lisa Richter have purchased the store, a longtime Magnolia Shopping Center staple.

“My cousin’s family owned a toy store growing up, and some of my fondest memories were visiting them and getting to work at the store,” Kurt Richter said. “Now I get to share that with my family.”

The Richters purchased Bennett’s from previous owner Vernon Moore in September. Moore owned Bennett’s for about 35 years, but chose to sell it after competition from Amazon and a stiff rent increase from new out-of-town owners,

The Richters moved the store a few doors down, to a smaller area,  at 5148 Hollister Ave.

Kurt Richter is leaving behind 31 years working as an automotive technician.

The Richters have two daughters, Samantha and Sabrina.

The store features a wide selection of books and toys, including Legos and Barbies. Like the previous Bennett’s, the store is also backed with materials for science projects and classroom supplies for students and teachers.

The store is open now, but the owners will host a grand re-opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, at the store. Regular store hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Drinking time

Institution Ale Company, a Camarillo-based brewery specializing in American style ales, is coming to 516 State St.

Institution Ale Company, a Camarillo-based brewery specializing in American style ales, is coming to 516 State St. in downtown Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
Institution Ale Company, a Camarillo-based brewery specializing in American style ales, is coming to 516 State St. in downtown Santa Barbara. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Pintard Commercial Real Estate brokered the deal.

“Considering all the recent challenges of leasing a larger restaurant site in the downtown retail district, I am very pleased to have secured a solid tenant for the landlord,” said Dave Pintard, president of Pintard Commercial Real Estate.  “Institution Ale has a very successful track record in Ventura County and I have every belief that they will be as popular and successful in this location.”

The site was formerly occupied by Pierre LaFond.

Institution Ale Company is excited about its expansion.

“We love the architecture of the building, the retrostyle, the location being in the heart of State St. and the inviting all glass storefront,” said Shaun Smith, the brewery’s co-founder. “With this new location, we’ll be able to share all our beers with a new community.

"Beer is best when it’s fresh. Being able to brew a beer and drive it 40 minutes up the road and put it on tap for everyone in Santa Barbara is going to be a lot of fun.”

IAC is known for using non-traditional ingredients such as vanilla, cocoa nibs, coffee and peppers. All of its beer is brewed in a 3-vessel 15 bbl Premier Stainless brewing system.

Institution Ale Company will renovate the site in the spring 2018 and then plans to open in the Fall of 2018.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina 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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