The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce recognized eight businesses at the third annual regional business awards meeting.
“There’s only one event we do a year where we focus on ourselves,” said Kristen Miller, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce. “Usually, we’re so focused on the community, but our annual meeting is when we get to shine a light on our chairman of the board and the Board of Directors. These are high-level CEOs in the community who are so dedicated to supporting the chamber and the business community, and business on the South Coast.”
The chamber represents businesses in Santa Barbara County from Goleta to Carpinteria. The purpose of the meeting was to recognize eight businesses throughout the county that were honored with awards for large business, small business, entrepreneur, nonprofit, milestone, hospitality, community and “green.”
The Nonprofit of the Year award went to the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County. The organization opened in Santa Barbara in 1947 and in 2021 opened learning centers for students. The club fee remains $40, and members are never turned away because of their financial situation.
Entrepreneur of the Year was awarded to Kyanna Isaacson, operations director at Jersey Mike’s Subs. Isaacson started at Jersey Mike’s making sandwiches before she was promoted to oversee five locations in the Santa Clarita Valley. In 2016, she was given her own franchise. Isaacson moved to Santa Barbara in 2021 and now oversees 12 Jersey Mike’s locations, three of which are in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara Adventure Co. was named Hospitality Business of the Year. Michael Cohen, owner and director of the company, accepted the award. Cohen started Santa Barbara Adventure Co. 25 years ago in his parents’ garage on the Mesa with “five kayaks, three credit cards and one Mazda pickup truck.” Since then, the company has expanded and was named USA Today’s “10 Best Kayak Companies in the U.S.”
The Green Business of the Year award was given to BEGA North America. Community Business of the Year was awarded to Momentum WORK Inc. The Large Business of the Year was awarded to Village Properties, and Small Business of the Year was awarded to J.R. Bookkeeping.
The Milestone award was given to the Santa Barbara Zoo, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Representatives from the zoo wore animal ears and tails to represent their organization.
Trevor Large, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce for 2022, banged a gavel to signal his stepping down and introduced new chairman Joey Zumaya. Large has been a member of the chamber for eight years.
“Our program of work overall is designed to support the local business community in a number of ways,” Large said.
Zumaya thanked Large and spoke about how the community came together during the recent storm in order to offer any support they could.
“When a crisis like that happens in our community, we all need to come together and be of service to each other,” Zumaya said. “And I’m just so proud to be associated with the chamber and very grateful that they trusted me to lead the Board of Directors in this coming year.
“The vision of the chamber in any year is to advocate for responsible public policy, offer networking and community building opportunities, provide access to business development and resources, and support visitor services across the region.”
Zumaya said the chamber’s vision for 2023 will be focused on economic development along State Street, elevating the hospitality and tourism industry, and focusing on the housing crisis and ways the South Coast can address the issue.
The newest members of the board are Tyler Duncan of Rusty’s Pizza, Steven Janicek of the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Angela Krablin of Montecito Bank & Trust, Liz Rodriguez from the Santa Barbara Hotel Group and Cara Williams from Cottage Health.
The outgoing board members are Joseph Cambary, Janet Garufis, Kirsten McLaughlin, Bibi Moezzi and Linda LeBrock.
Elected officials in attendance included Santa Barbara County First District Supervisor Das Williams, Second District Supervisor Laura Capps, Santa Barbara Councilmembers, Eric Freidman, Mike Jordan, Kristen Sneddon, Oscar Gutierrez, Goleta City Councilmmbers Kyle Richards and James Kyriaco, and Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse
Jesse Ebati representing Congressman Salud Carbajal, Gina Fischer representing Supervisor Joan Hartmann, Benjamin Peterson was representing Senator Limon and Ethan Bertram representing Assemblyman Gregg Hart also were in attendance.