2020 Rock Star: Lifetime Achievement Award

Tahmisian Head Shot

Lynne Tahmisian - President - La Arcada Investment Corporation

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship is thrilled to announce Lynne Tahmisian, President of La Arcada Investment Corporation as the 2020 Rock Star: Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Tahmisian has built a successful business with her special blend of business savvy and compassion that has made La Arcada a treasured landmark on State Street. She will be honored at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards, which will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary on May 1 at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort.

When you walk around the historic La Arcada Court with Tahmisian you notice a lot more than the tile-lined walkways, fountains and beautiful sculptures that decorate the lush landscapes. As she introduces you to her tenants, you learn not only their name and business, but also how many kids they have and what their names and ages are. It is obvious that for Tahmisian La Arcada is more than just a business, it’s family. She considers her tenants to be her “flock” and for more than 20 years, she has kept a watchful eye to ensure the safety and welfare of the small businesses who call La Arcada home.

“Starbucks wanted to rent our large space at the corner of State and Figueroa but I wasn’t interested in renting to a chain,” said Tahmisian who carefully curates her tenants so she can provide a great experience for La Arcada’s visitors. “It’s about a lot more than just filling a vacant spot, it’s about the energy a business brings to the atmosphere and what they can add to the La Arcada family.”

When it comes to supporting the tenants that fill La Arcada’s 22 retail spaces Lynne puts her money where her mouth is. Not only does she maintain low rents, she has a uniquely empathetic business approach during tough times. In 2015, the renovation of the public library blocked one of La Arcada’s entrances and she became aware that it was affecting business. Tahmisian called tenants individually into her office to check on them and surprised them with the news that she was canceling their rent for the month. She gave them a similar gift in 2018 when business was suffering because of the Thomas Fire and debris flow.

“In both of these cases I knew that business was down and they were struggling,” said Lynne. “I wanted to do what I could to help them get through the storm so their businesses could survive it. I often say it’s difficult to get into La Arcada, but once you do, we will do just about anything to keep you and help you succeed.”

“Lynne Tahmisian is the perfect Spirit of Entrepreneurship Rock Star because we are honoring students and women entrepreneurs and she has been incredibly supportive of both throughout her career,” said Kathy Odell, CEO of WEV. “She supports and encourages many entrepreneurs as they build their businesses and through her involvement with Westmont College she helps many students find their passion for both life and business.”

Tahmisian has deep ties to Westmont College since her father, the late Dwight Small, was a professor emeritus there. She is a 1967 graduate, has served as a member of the Board of Trustees since 2012, and her son Tim is an alumni. In addition to her extended La Arcada family, Tahmisian is the mother of three and has five grandchildren.

The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to an individual who has made an indelible impact on our community and who serves as a role model for women. Previous recipients include Sara Miller McCune, Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, Betty Hatch, and Carol Duncan. To learn more about previous Rock Star: Lifetime Achievement Award winners click here.