BEST NEW COMPANY OF 2016
Seeds The Juice Company
1113 Garden St., SLO
When Seeds The Juice Company entered the downtown SLO scene last year, it brought with it a much-needed burst of healthy food options like green juices and acai bowls. “It’s the new trend of how eating in SLO is going to go,” said Rammy Aburashed, Seeds co-owner. “Garden Street is becoming a hit.” Seeds now also boasts chia seed pudding and toast that’s 1 1/2 inches thick topped with everything from avocado and pumpkin seeds to nutella and strawberries.
Runner-up: Don’s String Shop
BEST RADIO STATION
KCBX 90.1 FM
4100 Vachell Lane, SLO
KCBX is my radio station, at least that’s the way I think about it. I co-own it with every other subscriber who pays to keep the public radio station afloat, and every weekday morning when I tune into Neal Losey’s Morning Cup and listen to his carefully curated selection of eclectic and amazing music, commercial-free, I’m reminded of what a worthwhile investment it is. They recently added a local news staff that brings listeners local news they may not find elsewhere, and they air amazing network shows from NPR, PRX, and APM. This is your community radio station!
Runner-up: KJUG 98.1 FM
BEST NEWS SOURCE
1010 Marsh St., SLO
Well clap, clap, clap! For the second year in a row, we won Best News Source in a poll we conducted in our own newspaper! Who the hell else would have won? The New York Times? The Christian Science Monitor? The freakin’ BBC? Jeez! “Oh look, what a surprise! New Times won their own poll.” “Hmm, I wonder if they stuffed the ballot box?” OK, I get it. It looks fishy. But what are you reading right now? Yeah, New Times. Why? No, I mean besides the fact that it’s free. Yeah, it’s because we dig deep to bring you the facts on local events, and we do it with a local staff and without being sued for libel. Yes, that’s a pretty low bar. Quit being so judgy!
runner-up: KSBY News
BEST PLACE FOR A WEDDING RECEPTION OR BIG BASH
100 Madonna Road, SLO
With its crazy cool pink décor and over-the-top cakes, Madonna Inn is a great place to get hitched or simply party the night away. “We have a variety of indoor and outdoors spaces with whimsical décor, helpful staff, and a great, local setting,” said Audrey Pierce, assistant marketing manager. With summer coming up, the venue’s Secret Garden makes for a sweet outdoor spot to exchange vows. Let them eat pink champagne cake!
Runner-up: Avila Beach Golf Resort
2900 Broad St., SLO
“We’re on top of things. If I get an email you’ll get a response quickly. If I get a phone call you’ll get a call right back,” said Elaine Danicic, the Taste’s catering director. Professionalism is what Danicic prides herself on and being able to work with customers every step of the way. “We make sure the event runs smoothly, everyone is taken care of, and our food is excellent,” she said. The newest service to the restaurant’s catering program is Taste on the Go, where the eatery comes to your home to provide flavorful dishes to a smaller party than say a wedding or corporate event.
Runner-up: Popolo Catering
BEST CAR WASH
Quiky Car Wash
2959 Broad St. and 1460 Calle Joaquin, SLO
Quiky Car Wash can make any amount of bird poop on your car disappear. I know that firsthand, because recently 2,000 birds pooped on my car in one day, which forced me to take it straight to the car wash. Quiky offered me a great price to go through the wash twice, and my car came out the other side spick and span. Manager John Singh said Quiky focuses on an efficient car wash experience. “People are very busy,” he said. “We want to be able to get you in and out.” The car wash is also environmentally efficient, using 85 percent recycled water and will soon be solar-powered.
Runner-up: Sunset North Car Wash
BEST MEDICAL MARIJUANA DELIVERY SERVICE
SLO, Five Cities
SLO County offers no shortage of medical marijuana delivery services. For the second year in a row, the nonprofit Milkman Collective was voted as the best of the bunch. Milkman Collective is family run and partners with hand-selected growers in Humboldt County and the Bay Area to provide 100 percent organic and lab-tested medicine. “I guess it’s just that we are very passionate about what we do,” said Tom, one of Milkman Collective’s two founders, who asked that we not use his last name. “We are reliable and consistent, and we try to set the bar as high as we can.”
Runner-up: House of Holistics
BEST LOCAL BANK/ CREDIT UNION
SESLOC Federal Credit Union
SLO, Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Paso Robles
You know you’ve found a trusted place when you see a familiar face that can recall your family members by name—that’s what SESLOC strives to do. SESLOC is now the largest locally-based financial institution in the county. With 75 years under its belt, employees know a thing or two about knowing their returning customers, said Carla Swift, vice president of financial education. “Most of the time we know our account holders by name and we serve about 48,000 people,” she said. Another focus the credit union has is building up its financial knowledge to boost their confidence when making financial commitments.
Runner-up: Rabobank America
BEST REAL ESTATE COMPANY
265 South St., suite G, SLO
Formed in 1979, Patterson Realty brings together a prestigious group of brokers and agents to collaborate on each property. Marketing admin Brittany Hensley said it’s the company’s commitment to understanding each client and doing the research to provide them with quality service that sets them apart. “There are a diverse set of agents we have working together and the years of experience come together really well to give the best service to our clients,” she said. Above everything else, Hensley said it’s the marketing and listings that agents do so well to engage people who are looking for a new home.
Runner-up: Richardson Properties
Harris Personal Injury Lawyers
698 Tank Farm Road, suite 240, SLO
Founded in 2005 by Attorney Ryan Harris, Harris Personal Injury Lawyers is a law firm that specializes in representing clients in personal injury cases. Harris serves more than 5,000 clients in 10 locations across California, including one in SLO, and has earned payouts in court totaling more than $200 million.
Harris credits the firm’s success to good old-fashioned customer service. While some law firms may keep clients at arm’s length, Harris indicated his firm takes a more personal approach. “Our clients are our friends,” he said. “It’s not just a short-term relationship for us.”
Runner-up: Jeremy Sullivan
BEST HOME & GARDEN SERVICE
(cleaning, landscape maintenance, pool care, pest control, general contractor, etc.)
Brezden Pest Control
3261 S. Higuera St., suite 100
Ants, bed bugs, earwigs, and beetles. Gross. Brezden Pest Control has been getting that particular brand of gross out of SLO County houses since 1980. Founders John and Maria Brezden have built a team of well-trained service technicians who can also rid your place of creepy spiders, crappy birds, and crawly rodents in an environmentally friendly way. An Atascadero customer found Brezden after spending a year working with another company. “Within a month of Brezden taking over, all rodents were removed and prevented from entering the attic. So happy with service!” she explained in a testimonial on Brezden’s website.
Runner-up: Madrone Landscape
BEST MOVING COMPANY
Move over, the meatheads are coming to help situate all your prized possessions into a new home or space. Keeping it simple and valuing each customer is what CEO Aaron Steed said is imperative to every move the crew helps with. “I think it’s fundamental that we care more than any other moving company about our customers, and we make every move personal,” he said. The company began 20 years ago and Steed said the company continues to grow from every success or mistake they encounter. “We always focus on what we can do to improve our service, and we never stop being innovative,” Steed said.
Runner-up: ASAP Movers
141 Suburban Road, unit D4, SLO
Danny McBride is the fourth generation in his family to run McBride’s Plumbing, which has been around since 1923. “Since I was born, my dad put me work,” he said with a laugh. Although, he’s been working at the family business since high school, he assured New Times it was a life he chose for himself. “Why would I turn down the opportunity with that good of a business and that good of a reputation?” he asked. There’s an old saying: “20 percent of your clients make 80 percent of your business, and that’s true with us.”
Runner-up: Drain Busters
Dr. Kim and Dr. Wong Family Dentistry
1370 Chorro St., SLO
Pearly white teeth are the best feeling and even better when it’s a healthy set, which is what Dr. Kim and Dr. Wong Family Dentistry work with each patient to accomplish. “We strive to earn and maintain the trust of all the patients we see by providing the most up-to-date dentistry and tailored dental treatment using the latest technology,” Wong said. Both doctors maintain personal and lasting patient relationships to earn the trust of their patients. “We are committed to helping each individual achieve their dental goals and keep them smiling for a lifetime,” he said.
Runner-up: Voss & Beck Family Dentistry
Dr. Brett Garrett – Garrett Orthodontics
1312 Garden St., SLO
Garrett Orthodontics is in the business of providing smile makeovers to children, teens, and adults. But, the office is also a big supporter of Hunger Awareness Day (June 2). The offices are collecting money to support the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County throughout the month of May, and Dr. Brett Garrett will match what’s donated there. The food bank is trying to raise $110,000 to feed the one in six SLO County residents who face hunger. “Bring your donation to your appointment and put in a box,” a post on the office’s Facebook page said. No wonder he’s the best!
Runner-up: Dr. John Freeman
Dr. David Shultz - Urban Optics
1001 Higuera St., SLO
Seeing is believing, and Dr. David Shultz of Urban Optics works to take care of peepers. Daughter Hanna Shultz said their clients come to visit the doctor and return for checkups because of the time and accuracy that he dedicates to each individual. “Our No. 1 that we really strive for is customer service and people come back every year for the doctor and the staff,” she said. The doctor works with each client to find the perfect match of frame to provide comfort and boost their confidence in their new glasses.
Runner-up: Dr. Rene Bravo-Bravo Pediatrics
1312 Garden St., SLO
Doctors Jeffrey Hiner, Sandra Karlic-Hiner, and Juan Reinosa are in the pain-relieving business. They go “the extra mile, making sure the patient is getting referred out properly and following up with them, calling them at home,” Karlic-Hiner said. They also try to work with people who can’t afford to pay for chiropractic treatment or whose insurance won’t cover it. And along those same lines, the office likes to give back to the community by sponsoring sports teams like the Cal Poly Wheelman and the Cuesta track team. “We tend to gear toward the teams that don’t have a lot of dough flowing through.”
Runner-up: Dr. Sandy Sachs – SLO Wellness
Pismo Beach Veterinary Clinic
990 Price St., Pismo Beach
It’s vital to find a vet who (figuratively) speaks your pet’s language and knows the importance of treating your little critter like family. Fortunately, the folks over at Pismo Beach Veterinary Clinic have this down—their website is filled with various animal care tips, and each doctor’s “about me” lists their pets alongside their spouses and children. “We are thrilled and honored to be again voted the best vet in SLO County,” said owner and veterinarian Joel Conn. “Thanks to everyone for the support! Our team works really hard to emphasize the customer experience, in addition to providing exceptional patient care.”
Runner-up: Dr. Mark O’Reilly—Stenner Creek
BEST AUTO MECHANIC
819 E. Grand Ave., Arroyo Grande
Mastertech’s mechanics love cars and care about yours. Their techs will change your tires, align your wheels, flush your engine oil, brake fluid, and tranny fluid, and do a little preventative maintenance on the side. Need something fixed? They can do that, too! “Our first-time customers continually become our long-term customers time and time again, choosing us for all their auto needs,” the company’s website states. “We may not be related, but you’ll feel like we’re family.”
Runner-up: Rizzoli’s Automotive in SLO
BEST OIL CHANGE
SLO, Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles, Atascadero
You can be satisfied with a quick lube job at one of the largest providers of preventative maintenance and light duty repair in North America. Yes, I’m talking about an oil change! And four of the more than 2,000 franchisee-owned service centers across the country are right along Highway 101 in SLO County. The company is “committed to keeping your vehicle running for the long haul,” according to the website. It’s the goal of Jiffy Lube to “help alleviate the anxiety that routine vehicle maintenance can bring.” I feel better already.
Runner-up: Big Brand Tires
BEST USED CAR DEALER
43 Higuera St., SLO
More bang for your buck is the treasure trove that McCarthy’s used car dealership holds. Nailing down the spot for best used car dealership for the ninth year in a row isn’t too much of a surprise for General Manager Chris Wesney. “We believe that keeping our focus on the highest quality people and inventory has been the key to our success,” he said. “Great employees plus great cars equal another great year.” The dealership has dozens of top-notch used cars of a variety of brands and colors to create a match made in car heaven.
Runner-up: Smith Volvo: New & Used Volvo Cars
BEST NEW CAR DEALERSHIP
12250 Los Osos Valley Road, SLO
Getting your hands on the wheel for the first time or returning for your second or third Honda vehicle, Sunset Honda can provide you with the best service to answer every question you have about the vehicles. The dealership is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and dealership President Chris Baughman said that having a long-standing presence in the community has really given them the ability to gain customer trust. “We really make sure our staff is well-trained with each product and understand every feature to provide each customer with the best experience when they come in,” he said.
Runner-up: Perry Ford Lincoln of SLO
BEST CAR AUDIO COMPANY
356 Santa Rosa St., SLO
Walking into Lombards Stereo comes with a greeting and a wealth of knowledge bout the right product for each unique vehicle. Store Manager Angel Hurtado said that he takes pride in the store’s old-school way of approaching customers. “We call it pre-internet customer service. It’s when you take the time to get to know what the customer is looking for and really provide them with as much information as possible,” he said. “It’s not like taking a number and spending only a few minutes with someone.” It’s all about looking each customer in the eye and shaking their hand knowing they have all the education they need about their product.
Runner-up: Best Buy
BEST FURNITURE STORE
Pismo Outlets, SLO, Morro Bay, and Paso Robles
Owner Guntug Yilmaz has run the Couch Potato since he was 25 when it opened in a small, 2,000 square-foot showroom on Marsh Street. “We kept growing because the community liked us,” Yilmas said. “Now we have four locations!” He specializes in custom upholstery, using quality vendors from Southern California and the East Coast. “We find better quality at a regional price point,” Yilmas said. “We also work with Amish furniture makers and support American-made wood and upholstery products.” His furniture is contemporary and stylish yet comfortable. “And we turned everybody into couch potatoes—a silly name but serious comfort!” Yilmas said.
Runner-up: Luna Rustica
Clarification: This article has been edited to correct a citation in Best Local Bank/Credit Union.