Chamber Small Businesses of the Year have big impact on community
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: February 20, 2013
Small business can have a big impact on the community, and two of the very best - Tisa’s Salon & Spa and Garden Market - were honored February 12 by the Chamber of Commerce. The 2012 Small Businesses of the Year were lauded at the Ventura County Agriculture Museum (The Mill) along with Citizen of the Year Fred Robinson, Larger Businesses of the Year Vintage Production and Calpipe, and Beautification Projects of the Year American In Bloom and Santa Paula Chevrolet/John Macik.
“California Dreamin’” was the theme of the annual luncheon that featured Mayor Ralph Fernandez, who updated guests on the State of the City. City Councilmen Rick Cook and Martin Hernandez and City Manager Jaime Fontes, as well as Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long, attended the awards luncheon.
Chamber Board President John Chamberlain offered the welcome before Tisa’s Salon owner Tisa Grant and Garden Market’s Victor and Maria Almazan received their awards for mixing business and community activism.
Charles Law, a Chamber board director, said the recipients “have done incredible jobs” establishing and growing their businesses while also supporting a variety of causes and projects that benefit Santa Paulans individually, as well as the community as whole.
Tisa’s Salon & Spa opened at 947 E. Main St. in 2006 in the historic downtown, where Grant renovated the space to create a luxurious salon and spa that invited clients to “Relax, Enjoy, and Indulge” in top quality haircuts and styling, manicures and pedicures, beauty treatments and more.
Law noted Tisa has inspired her crew to follow her lead in community support and giving for various causes and charities, ranging from Locks of Love to ARC Relay for Life, individual fundraising for those suffering from life-threatening illnesses, and being a featured beauty attraction at the Downtown Merchants Association’s annual Hot Summer Jazz & Art celebrations. Tisa’s, noted Law, also offers haircuts for kids with cancer, just another example of how the busy business owner makes time for community.
“I am so proud I can serve my community,” said Tisa, who noted she had a “great example - my mother Anita Pulido.” Tisa said her mother “instilled” in the family the philosophy that “You just don’t live in a town,” but you help the town where you live.
“I’m very lucky to have such a supportive staff,” who Tisa said helps enable her to pursue her charitable interests. And, she added, “I love being an asset to my community.”
Law said another example of a small business with a big heart and devotion to community is Victor and Maria Almazan of Garden Market, 449 N. 10th Street. When the couple purchased the famed market, they took on a tradition of caring for community established by former owners Mich and Helen Yamamoto.
The Almazans are highly supportive of school activities and fundraisers - whether elementary, middle or high school - staging barbecues and other events to help fundraising, “...endless school fundraisers,” noted Law. The couple also regularly supports fundraisers such as The Taste of the Valley staged by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Clara Valley and the Santa Paula Police & Fire Foundation/Chamber of Commerce’s Moonlight at the Ranch, among others.
Their reputation for giving is only equaled by their food, ranging from the Garden Market’s fork-tender seasoned tri-tip and the custom sausages that Law said “I love!” - ready to take home and cook - to the prepared takeout food section specializing in Mexican fare.
“I’m uncomfortable being up here,” said Victor who noted he and Maria give “from the heart.... We came here 15 years ago today and saw the need at the schools,” and Victor said the couple vowed to help because Santa Paula’s children “are our future.”