Santa Barbara Pickleball Shop co-owner Carlos Ruiz
Santa Barbara Pickleball Shop co-owner Carlos Ruiz shows his skills Thursday inside the store. Credit: Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo

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The fastest-growing sport in the world now has its own store in Santa Barbara.

The Santa Barbara Pickleball Shop opened recently and will hold a grand opening this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 a.m. at 835 N. Milpas St., Suite B.

The shop was founded by three local men — Carlos Ruiz, Mark Cardona and Erik Villagomez — and is next door to another family shop, Aggressive Soccer.

The shop offers paddles, shoes, clothing, pickleballs and other items for the rookie or experienced pickleball player.

“What I love about pickleball is the community and the friendships, and the physical and mental health outlets,” Ruiz said.

The store allows people to try out new paddles before buying them. Ruiz has set up a demo board in the store for people to get a feel for how the paddle handles.

“The whole idea is to really understand the game,” Ruiz said.

Among the customers on Thursday at the shop was Tracy Wilcox, who runs the Santa Barbara Pickleball Club with her husband, Dave. At Earl Warren, they hold scrambles and clinics, and offer lessons.

She said pickleball and tennis were among the sports that grew in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic because they are played outside and people can play while keeping a distance.

“It’s easy to learn, and hard to master. You can go out and within 20 minutes learn how to play and be kind of successful at getting a rally going,” Tracy Wilcox said. “It’s fun. It’s very social.”

The new store, she said, is “awesome” because it allows people to test paddles.

“The paddle is a big deal for pickleball players,” she said. “The fact that they can come here and demo a paddle before they buy a paddle is a big deal.”

The grand opening also will feature donuts and sandwiches.

“Our mission is to help grow this game through our youth and enhance the retail experience,” Ruiz said.

Goleta’s Newest Mexican Food Restaurant

Los Altos, a longtime restaurant on Santa Barbara’s Eastside, is planning to open in Old Town Goleta, at 5892 Hollister Ave.

It’s the former site of Marisco Titas, Wingman Rodeo, Gimeal and Natural Cafe.

The original Los Altos is at 318 N. Milpas St. in Santa Barbara.

An Instagram post from the company stated that the restaurant will open in April or May.

Taqueria La Unica Sneak Preview

Taqueria La Unica, the latest effort from Carlos Luna and the Los Agaves Restaurant Group, is set to open from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday for a sneak preview by invite-only.

The restaurant will sell Mexican street tacos at 3771 State St., the former site of Dunkin Donuts.

“Taqueria La Unica is more than just a place to eat, it’s a celebration of the Luna family’s vibrant culture they grew up with and traditions that inspire their authentic Mexican cuisine,” a news release states.

— Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk@NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Joshua Molina

Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at