Archive for December, 2009

Sideways Anyone?

Monday, December 28th, 2009

This week I will spend some time getting Sideways in Solvang & Santa Ynez – and using my Axxess Card to do so. The wine section we have is a great way to try new wineries for half price if not for Free. We have some new additions to the section this year so that’s where we’re headed. We also plan on staying and dining at the Hadsten House Inn and Spa – which I think was actually shown in the movie Sideways.

Christmas Eve 1999

Monday, December 28th, 2009

In October 1999 we published our first Axxess Directory. As I’ve said before, at that time no one had even heard of Axxess nor could we convince our friends to buy a Card.

We thought that sales would pick up around the holidays so we sat by the phone in our dumpy little aparment on Ortega Street until about 3pm on Christmas Eve – just waiting to make a $25 sale (in year one an Axxess Book was $25).  If we were to receive a phone order, we would hop in the car and hand deliver it. I’m not sure what we were thinking!

Not only was that not a very economically efficient plan but we ended up sitting by the phone all morning without one call.  At 3 we called it quits and drove to Marin County in Northern California to be with our families. While my parents were disappointed I didn’t get home on Christmas eve until about 9 pm, I think they admired my determination and commitment to my new business venture.

Since then, I’ve learned quite a bit and we now close up shop from the 18th until the New Year; giving both me and my team a much needed break. (Of course we still check our emails and phone messages in case someone does want to make a purchase!)

This is not me!

This is not me!

Axxess Brings on New CEO!

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
The Future of SB Axxess

The Future of SB Axxess

My brother gave Sierra this onesie – very appropriate!

A story from the early days…

Monday, December 21st, 2009

In February Axxess will turn 11 years old and sometimes I still can’t believe it. Although originally my partner and I thought we’d be instant millionaires but at 22 years old – what did we know! I’m still working on being a millionaire and have rescheduled that goal into the future with no firm due date for now but I’m very proud of what an integral part of the community Axxess has become.

As you may or may not know, Axxess is local and privately owned by me, my original partner, and several investors who are all family and friends. We started the business with $30k back in 1999.

I remember in our 2nd year, I was trying to convince a local jewelery store to advertise. I really didn’t know what I was doing nor did Axxess have any cardholders back then, but my intentions were good. This lady, the owner, felt so bad for me that she handed me a twenty dollar bill and told me to go feed myself.  I honestly didn’t know what to do. She wasn’t going to advertise and as embarrassing as it was I took the cash, called my business partner, and met him at Giovanni’s for a pizza.

I’ll always remember feeling so lame that I took the twenty bucks. But at the same time her generosity was encouraging and a year later I did manage to get her store into the Program. Jokingly, I gave her a twenty dollar discount!


I thought this was funny. Not sure what he's thinking? I thought the sign was supposed to say "Will work for food"

While she isn’t currently a part of the Axxess Program, I still pop in to see her every now and again and say hello.

A mug and a bottle of Dom!

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Yesterday, I received a customized mug as a holiday gift. Ironically, that was only box one of two – the 2nd box contained a bottle of Dom Perignon!

So I guess that I need to place an asterisk on my post from yesterday* because while  I still feel buying local is the way to go, I’m definitely okay with receiving random and expensive  gifts that that I would never purchase for myself.

If you’d like to keep the expensive random gift trend going, you know where to find me! Thanks & Happy Holidays.

Random gifts

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

I’m wondering why some of my vendors choose to send the most random holiday gifts. For example, I just got a pretty lame mug with a vendor’s logo on it. Now, I don’t mean to be unappreciated and I suppose I could always use another mug – but really? When I give gifts to clients or vendors, we buy local – therefore supporting local and keeping the dollars local. I try to buy things from our advertisers and end up doing so 95% of the time, but even in other instances we keep our money here in town and try to give gifts that are relevant.

I also received a box from fruit that probably cost upwards of $75 and I’m wondering what this person was thinking? Sending non organic overpriced fruit in my mind is just a waste of money, and the resources it took to get the fruit from wherever it came from all the way to Santa  Barbara. Last time I checked Santa Barbara grew plenty of it’s own fruit.

Certainly one objective of the Holidays is to show your love or appreciation for those that are deserving, I just think it can be done in a more meaningful and sustainable way. So instead of buying people random, meaningless gifts, at least buy them locally.mugs


Friday, December 11th, 2009

During the holidays, especially when it’s really cold out  I always look forward to having cocktails at The Chase Bar. It seems festively decorated year round but in December they really go all out with the holiday decorations. The Chase is back in the Axxess Program this year so stop by, and if you go tonight or next Friday at happy hour I’ll meet you there.  Be sure to say Hi to George the owner who’s often behind the


Bummer – Lefties Closed up shop

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

It’s now confirmed, despite months of rumors that Left at Albuquerque is closed for good.  Not quite sure what happened but I know their parent company has had financial issues in the past.

I think Left at Albuquerque, which is a small privately held company, started out in Palo Alto and I’m pretty sure their 2nd restaurant was the one they opened around 1997 on State Street – where the “Juicy” store now is.  My business partner Nate was one of the first bartenders there and in 1999 when we started Axxess I also was tending bar there.

Prior to being the Axxess Guy, I bartended all over State Street. Even though I was good at it, Lefties management was not happy with me and let me go in March 1999, one month after starting Axxess. Back then, cell phones were not as main stream as they are now and I was on my cell half the time I was behind the bar. Shoot – I was 22 years old and had just taken a huge risk starting my own company. I had to pay the rent so I bartended, but I also had to answer my phone as we were just getting started and I felt every call was extremely important.

I remember as they were “letting me go” I asked, “So, are we still meeting next week to talk about Axxess?”.

Pretty funny. But thankfully it was an amicable break up and a week later the restaurant that just fired me became my client.  It turned out to be a blessing, because I then realized that I needed to focus my full energy on the business and doing so might be tough financially at first – but would benefit me more in the long run.  So my bartending career came to an end and I have Lefties to thank for that.

They will be missed, and let’s just hope that location isn’t infiltrated by another large corporate chain. We’ll see…

Random news of the day

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

My baby kept me up from 2 am to 6am last night.  Instead of just sitting there, I thought I’d look up the important news of the day. I found these articles, which are pretty ridiculous, with the following headlines:

Jesus Christ dumped from Jury Pool

Woman sees image of Jesus on her iron – I guess Jesus was a popular topic today. Look at these photos!

Oh, and apparently Governor Schwarzenegger’s lawn was tp’d. The triviality of what I found made me think I was reading the NewsPress!

5 Things to do this week

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

This week, I’m determined to use my Axxess Card for:

1. A Brew Burger from SB Brewing Company

2. To get my Christmas Tree from Big Wave Dave’s – the tree lot on Hitchcock (Not at Earl Warren) & Save my $5.

3.  A massage from Kathy Gruver at Healing Circle (for my wife, I wish it was for me!)

4. And before the rains come I think I might need to get my tires checked, so I”m going to swing by Ian at Ian’s Tires or see Frank at Prestige Tires over on Milpas

5. And something totally random, not sure what yet…