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Business

BizHawk: HiWi Tropical Fusion Bringing Family Friendly Venue to Isla Vista Restaurant Scene

Mesa Bookstore up for sale, Betty’s Fabrics closing and LogicMonitor moves to new headquarters

HiWi Tropical Fusion offers a Hawaiian-themed menu in a family-friendly outdoor setting. Click to view larger
HiWi Tropical Fusion offers a Hawaiian-themed menu in a family-friendly outdoor setting.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

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By the time Monica Martinez’ son would leave the locker room after his UC Santa Barbara soccer game, many eateries in Isla Vista were closed, and some, crowded with students ready to party, he didn’t really see as parent-friendly.

“We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to just have a nice restaurant around here, where people could really enjoy a nice meal and have a nice atmosphere?’” Martinez said, “Where families feel welcomed and kids can really go and have a great environment without having to have alcohol involved?”

That kicked off a family effort to open such an establishment, which culminates at 10 a.m. Saturday with the grand opening of HiWi Tropical Fusion.

Restaurant president Martinez and her family swiftly flipped a dilapidated former plumbing store at 6555 Pardall Rd. into an outdoor-seating-only restaurant that serves up a Hawaiian-themed and primarily-organic menu that took a year, and a trip to the 50th state, to create.

“There is nothing like it in the area,” she said of the food, adding that the menu also has influences from Japanese, Mexican, Thai and Korean food. 

“We wanted to appeal not only to the students, but the surrounding community also,” said Martinez, who has a background in retail to complement her brother-in-law’s background in the food industry and her niece Nareh Shanazarian’s experience with consumer trends.

HiWi opens Saturday at its 6555 Pardall Rd. location in Isla Vista. Click to view larger
HiWi opens Saturday at its 6555 Pardall Rd. location in Isla Vista.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

HiWi is the first business in Isla Vista to partner with a county-run composting program, and plans to invite other local businesses to jump on board, said Shanazarian, HiWi’s operations manager.

HiWi Tropical Fusion is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m., Friday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday morning’s ribbon cutting will be followed by live music, dancers, raffle prizes and food samples.

Mesa Bookstore up for sale

Santa Barbara’s smallest bookstore — and perhaps its smallest business in general — is up for sale.

Mesa Bookstore of 1838 Cliff Dr. packs 10,000 titles into 205 square feet. Owners David and Lisa Karys-Schiff will continue to operate their 2-1/2-year-old bookstore at 906 S. Broadway in Santa Maria, where they live.

David Karys-Schiff cited his 92-year-old father’s health issues as the reason for selling the 25-year-old store.

“You’ve got to make a choice there at some point, and I’m old enough so that, hey, I’ve got to do that,” he said. “That’s important; family is important.”

The couple is looking for someone who’s passionate about books and enjoys others’ company, he said. They have an offer on the table, but it’s the folks behind an offer who are the most important component of a deal, he said.

“It’s 25 years of our blood, sweat and tears in it. We want to make sure that it’s in good hands,” Karys-Schiff said.

He rattled off a list of 10 bookstores that served Santa Barbara when the Mesa Bookstore first opened. Half, he noted, are still around. Between Mesa Bookstore and Broadway Books, the couple has two employees — themselves.

Inspired by their own childhood librarians’ enthusiasm for sparking others’ interest in reading, he said customer service is integral to bookstores’ success.

Despite the e-book wave that has swept up his industry, many of his customers, he noted, have been college and high school students, some of whom he and his wife have watched grow up over the past quarter-century.

“It’s been an experience,” he said with a smile.

Betty’s Fabrics in Santa Maria closing

After 57 years in business in Santa Maria, Betty’s Fabrics at 1637 S. Broadway is closing this month.

Owner Betty Pilkington told the San Luis Obispo Tribune that declining sales, a shrinking clientele and age — she’s 90 — led to her decision to close up shop.

Pilkington said she plans to continue operating her store in San Luis Obispo. At one time, she also had stores in Santa Barbara and Lompoc.

LogicMonitor moves to new headquarters

Santa Barbara software-as-a-service company LogicMonitor has moved its headquarters from 12 E. Carrillo St. up to the fifth floor of 820 State St., in the El Paseo center.

Company spokeswoman Nicole Neumayr told Noozhawk that LogicMonitor’s fast growth prompted the move, and that it’s retaining its Carrillo Street office.

Of its 190 employees around the globe, she said, 90 are in the city.

LogicMonitor also announced the launch of its LM Cares program, where it sponsors, participates in and helps out with local nonprofits’ programs and events.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman 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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