The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Tropical treats sold to mainlanders

With a name like Backyard Bowls, business owners Dan Goddard and Pete Heth want customers to conjure images of beaches and hammocks as they enjoy a healthy snack in an open patio just blocks from the beach.

Of course, the name caused some confusion when the store opened last Nov.
“Some people thought we were a plumbing store or a marijuana dispensary,” said Heth.

Goddard and Heth met at Santa Barbara City College before transferring to San Diego State University and UCSB, respectively. Goddard, interested in business from the start, earned a bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis in marketing. He says he earned valuable training at SBCC, calling the business classes he took there “the best in all of my college years.”

Heth, more directionally challenged in his early college years, didn’t find studying business to be the right path for him and used SBCC to chart the right course.

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“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I used my time there to find a direction,” Heth said. “It was a great college experience, really hands-on. People would show you what to do to be successful.”

After getting a degree in anthropology, Heth, 27, took a year to travel, buying one-way tickets to places such as New Zealand and Hawaii. It was the latter where he reconnected with Goddard and where the two were introduced to their future business idea-açai bowls.

Popular in Hawaii and originating in South America, açai bowls are made from the juice of an açai tree, made into something like a smoothie. It’s commonly served with fresh fruit and granola. Backyard Bowls currently offers eight different bowls, most in two different sizes ranging from roughly $6 to $9.

“We would eat these for lunch every day,” Goddard said. “It’s been a sideshow at other places, but it’s our main business.”

Goddard said the reasons for coming back to Santa Barbara to start the business was because the product was a good fit for the area.

“It’s a great market for our product,” Goddard said. “The healthy food theme fits with the affluence of the community and the healthy and organic lifestyle.”

Both Goddard and Heth said it’s been a new challenge in juggling the parts of starting a small business and keeping it going, especially when only one of them has a remote background in business.

“My dad owned his own business for a while but it was in a completely different field,” Heth said. “We used a lot of his resources. The key to business is to ask questions.”

He and Goddard have things more buttoned down now. They’ve learned how to stick to their mission of buying local as much as possible and keeping waste down to a minimum. To-go containers are compostable but most food is served in ceramic bowls with metal spoons. And the company is eagerly awaiting its chance to participate in the City of Santa Barbara’s food scraps recycling program, which is being gradually rolled-out to local restaurants.

With a staff that is now at 12 employees, Goddard and Heth have a bit more time on their hands to enjoy their own bowl and catch whatever surf they can in a city they really appreciate.

“We love Santa Barbara,” Goddard said. “It’s our favorite place.”

For more information visit the Backyard Bowls Web site

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