BizHawk: Armada Wine & Beer Merchant Finds Niche Serving Up Drinks

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The owners of Armada Wine Beer Merchant in downtown Santa Barbara set out to offer a different type of drinking experience, and customers seem to be responding to the new niche.

Armada opened at 1129-A State St. in the San Marcos Courtyard a couple of months ago, a sufficient enough amount of time for word to have spread — especially about happy hour drink deals from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Owners Jaime Heer and Tucker Huget, former managers of Carr Vineyards Winery, had been thinking about starting the business for at least a year.

They wanted to offer both beer and wine — by the glass and via tastings — and they picked products made locally and abroad.

Location was also key, so the pair laid roots in an area of State Street that offers tons of restaurant choices but fewer beverage-only options. The spot, which used to house Shine Blow Dry Bar, also gets good traffic from nearby Core Power Yoga.

“Most of them are wine,” Heer said of the competition. “It’s always been a dream.”

A patio is in the works, and the owners also hope to soon host events in the space.

Tap Thai Moves to Upper State Street

Santa Barbara’s Tap Thai restaurant has moved into a bigger space at 3130 State St.

The 3-year-old restaurant moved from its original location at 2611 De la Vina St. last week.

Hours also have changed, since the eatery will now only serve dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. during the week and until 11 p.m. on weekends.

Vandenberg Garden Apartments Sold

The 122-unit Vandenberg Garden Apartments located near Vandenberg Air Force Base have sold to a San Francisco-based investment firm.

Radius Commercial Real Estate Investments announced the sale this week, although the final terms were not disclosed. Escrow on the property, listed at $14 million, closed March 20.

The deal marked the largest sale of multifamily property in the North County since 2011 and the largest in the Lompoc vicinity, according to Radius.

The complex, which includes the Driftwood Apartments, Dunes Apartments and Spindrift Apartments, is situated on approximately 6.5 acres in Vandenberg Village, roughly a half-mile from the military base.

Goleta Business Competes for New Equipment

Heeluxe, a Goleta footwear research firm, has entered a competition to earn more money for new equipment. 

SCORE, a nonprofit business counseling service that provides free mentoring for small businesses, is partnering with Brother International to celebrate its 50th anniversary by providing a winning business with $2,500 in Brother equipment, plus expert mentoring and a free flight to Washington, D.C., to receive a special award at the the 2014 SCORE Awards Gala.

As a mentee of the local Santa Barbara Chapter of SCORE since its launch in 2010, Heeluxe will compete to improve the efficiency of its lab with cutting-edge products, such as sewing machines and printers and getting connected with mentors that can help us partner with more footwear companies.

The competition will be decided by online voting, and Heeluxe’s video entry can be found by clicking here.

Whistle Club Opens in Paseo Nuevo

The Whistle Club boutique has opened at 819 State St., Suite A+B in Paseo Nuevo.

The independently owned and operated shop opened for business last month to showcase a tightly curated assortment of women’s apparel, accessories and gifts from a thoughtful selection of emerging designers and industry favorites.

Founder and buyer Rebecca McKinney, a UC Santa Barbara graduate, has an extensive background in buying and e-commerce, and formerly was an editor and consultant with Tobe of The Doneger Group.

Radisson in Santa Maria Earns Award

The Radisson Hotel Santa Maria has received a 2013 Radisson President’s Award.

The hotel was selected from more than 145 Radisson hotels worldwide, and has received the award several times in the past for achieving top scores in guest satisfaction.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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.