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Home is where the hamsters are.
And thanks to Andrea Navarro, that place is still the Pet House in Goleta.
Navarro purchased the iconic Goleta store, 5781 Calle Real, on Jan. 1 — 19 years after she was hired at the pet store as a cashier.
“I have always loved animals,” Navarro told Noozhawk.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the arrival of corporate chains such as Petco and PetSmart to the area, Pet House has remained a local favorite. It’s where a person can buy rats and reptiles, fish and frogs, birds and tarantulas.
The store has survived generations of challenges, including the expansion of the nearby Trader Joe’s into the store’s previous space. Pet House now occupies a former Blockbuster video building, with VHS tapes and DVDs replaced by dog collars and cat treats.
Navarro met her future husand, Pablo, at the pet store, had two children, now ages 11 and 9, and worked a lot of hours to keep the store alive.
With the new ownership, she has debuted a new website, which allows people to order online.
“The live animals is a big thing because a lot of the animals we breed here ourselves,” Navarro said. “People come from all over the place — Ventura, way up north — just to get rats from us because our rats are so amazing.”
She breeds hamsters at her home and works with local breeders for the rats and the birds.
“We know where we are getting our animals from,” Navarro said. “We are not getting them from this huge, large supplier that we don’t know what we are getting.”
The previous owner, Wendy Guyer, was a licensed veterinary technician, so the store has always had high standards for its pets.
The truth is, Navarro said, the store survives on the sale of supplies, not animals. The animals are an attraction, but the food and accessories are where the business makes its profit. A lot of people buy their animals at Pet House, then their supplies online, which isn’t helpful.
“It costs a lot of money to clean all these cages, and to feed them good food,” Navarro said. “You really don’t make money on the animals. It’s the supplies that come with it. It kind of kills us when people buy their supplies online, but get there animals here because we’re probably losing money on the animals. But that’s what brings people in, that’s what makes it fun.”
The store has 10 employees. It offers pickup and delivery within a five-mile radius.
Village Properties Joins Network
Village Properties owner Renee Grubb.
“We are beyond thrilled to partner in the launch of Forbes Global Properties as the exclusive member in Santa Barbara,” Village Properties owner Renee Grubb said. “This marks an exciting new chapter in our 25-year history. Our unparalleled reputation and experience in the Santa Barbara community, coupled with Forbes’ high-net worth consumer base and worldwide reach, will create a powerful tool in captivating luxury real estate clientele.”
Village Properties, as a founding member, will be one of only 100 “elite brokerage firms” invited to participate in the global network. The idea is to connect homebuyers and sellers to properties for sale in Santa Barbara, Montecito, Ojai and Santa Ynez, according to a news release.
Forbes Global Properties is an arm of Forbes media company, which extends branding and marketing services to Village Properties and other real estate brokerage members.
The consortium was co-founded by Jeff Hyland, co-founder and president of Hilton & Hyland, and Bonnie Stone Sellers, a leading authority on global real estate markets and the luxury consumer. They are joined by Forbes Global Properties CEO Alex Lange.
Attorneys Join New Firm
John Ambrecht and Elizabeth Mackey-Sall will join Santa Barbara law firm DT Law Partners.
Ambrecht has more than 30 years of experience in estate planning and estate tax law and is the founder of the boutique law firm Ambrecht & Associates in Montecito. Mackey-Sall is a California licensed attorney and estate planning expert. She managed a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Santa Barbara.
DT Law Partners, 125 E. Victoria St., Suite I, specializes in business and corporate matters, trust and estate planning, and trust, estate and business litigation. Mark DePaco and David Tappeiner are the founding members.
“We’re thrilled to welcome John and Elizabeth to our team,” DePaco said. “Their skills and credentials are exceptional, and we know they will be an incredible asset to our clients seeking complex estate planning services.”
Ambrecht is a certified specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. He’s the author of the book “For Love & Money: Protecting Family & Wealth in Estate & Succession Planning.”
Mackey-Sall is an alumna of Southwestern Law School, where she graduated magna cum laude with a public service distinction in 2013. She served as a professor of law and taught the school’s bar exam preparation program before launching her own law practice in 2014. She counsels clients on all aspects of estate planning and administration, including wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, advance health care directives, powers of attorney, charitable giving, probate administration, conservatorships, and other complex estate planning services, according to a news release.