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Saturday, November 17 , 2018, 12:52 pm | Fair with Haze 65º


BizHawk: New Gym Opens in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone

Handlebar Coffee opens on De la Vina St.; Bluewater Grill Seafood Restaurants names GM and executive chef

Matt Ladin, left, and Craig Donen started The Base, a gym in the Funk Zone that opened in August. Click to view larger
Matt Ladin, left, and Craig Donen started The Base, a gym in the Funk Zone that opened in August. (Josh Molina / Noozhawk photo)

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In the old days, during the 1980s boom era of weightlifting, bodybuilding and raw eggs for breakfast, big warehouse gyms full of dumbbells, barbells and Nautilus machines were the in places to go.

But in Santa Barbara in 2017, where health, fitness and sustainable lifestyles are no longer a luxury, but more like an expectation, the  gym of the modern era looks a lot less bulky and much more mobile.

And when you put that gym inside the heart of the Funk Zone, where "young professionals" and "millennials" sip lattes in the afternoon, chardonnay in the evenings, and ride bikes all day long, you get The Base, "Santa Barbara's premiere boutique fitness facility."

The gym focuses on training, nutrition, mobility, recovery, body work and a "complete wellness experience."

Move over old-school muscleheads and say hello to the new faces of fitness: gym owners Matt Ladin and Craig Donen. 

"We have an open-minded approach," said Ladin, who doubles as an attorney. "Whether it is pilates, strength training, mobility, recovery or bodywork, we wanted to bring all these concepts under one roof."

The base trains everyone from high-level athletes and teens looking to excel in their sport, to individual fitness-minded people and local small businesses trying to build a positive, collaborative team culture among their employees.

Donen, 41, has been a trainer in Santa Barbara for two decades, and Ladin, 40, enjoyed a career as a professional polo player, rubbing elbows with the local polo elite, including Tommy Lee Jones.

The two decided about a year ago to start a gym that wasn't tied to one discipline, whether it be cross-fit, pilates or the like. Instead, they develop programs catered to specific needs. And every day and routine is different. 

"We have an extensive process to make sure we match people with the right trainers," Ladin said. 

The 6,000-square-foot gym also has four private showers in an air-conditioned bathroom, so that people "can get back to work clean and energized."

"We started this business to help people at any level achieve better wellness, and so far the results for our clients have been inspiring," Ladin said.  

The two chose the Funk Zone, at 116 Anacapa St., because of the area's rapid growth. While State Street has declined to row crops of corporate outlets and vacant storefronts, the Funk Zone has emerged as a hub for local entrepreneurs offering food, wine and unique products and services, the type of which you can't buy on Amazon. 

"This was one of the fastest-growing areas of Santa Barbara," Ladin said. "It just seemed like a good place with great energy."

More coffee

The Handlebar Cafe is now open at 2720 De la Vina St.

"We are happy to let you all know today (Sept. 25) we have opened the doors to our new roastery & cafe," the owners wrote in an instagram post. "Please feel free to stop by and enjoy.

"Million thanks to everyone's help along the way . . . And to the community, thanks for being so great to us. And to all our employees, thanks for all your hard work & great customer service."

The new coffee shop this week is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours to 9 p.m. next week, featuring beer and wine.

More seafood

Bluewater Grill Seafood Restaurants has named a general manager and local executive chef to lead the Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara, which opens in mid-January 2018 at 15 E. Cabrillo Blvd, formerly the site of Rusty's Pizza.

The restaurant hired Chanel Ducharme, former chef de cuisine at the Hungry Cat in Santa Barbara, as executive chef.

Colin Lohenry, part of the team at the original Bluewater Grill in Newport Beach’s Cannery Village, will become Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara general manager.

The Newport Beach resident has been appointed by Bluewater co-founders Jim Ulcickas and Richard Staunton to "bring the Bluewater brand of pristine, just-off-the-boat seafood and shellfish to the Central California Coast for the first time."

 “We are thrilled to build a culinary and management team that can introduce Santa Barbara to Bluewater’s 21-year tradition of hospitality and signature seafood and shellfish – much of it caught locally off the California coast by our own fishing boat,” said Ulcickas, Bluewater co-founder and co-owner. 

Fewer tourists

Santa Barbara continues to struggle with tourism. The city received about $5.4 million in sales tax revenues during the quarter ended June 30, 2017, a 2.7-percent decrease over the same quarter last year.

Santa Barbara received about $21.4 million in sales taxes in the fiscal year 2017, a decrease of about $97,000 from the prior year and below the adopted budget of $22,381,000.

Since sales tax revenues are received quarterly from the state, and one quarter in arrears, the city receives the 4th quarter results for each fiscal year in September, which also marks the final sales tax payment for fiscal year 2017.

In addition, the city collected about $2.14 million in transient-occupancy taxes for the month of August 2017, a 6-percent decrease compared to August 2016.

TOT collected from hotels decreased .5 percent, and short-term rentals experienced a decline of 75 percent.

The city banned vacation rentals in single-family residential areas in 2016.

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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