By the Bay

Big NASCAR fan slows down at spa

judysalamacha@gmail.comFebruary 3, 2013 

Her license plate says NSCRBUG. She won her 2012 NASCAR fantasy pool. She has first rights to Daytona SpeedWeeks tickets. But Kathi Slabodnik’s heart is definitely in Cayucos.

“Our weather is pleasant and affects people’s attitudes. They’re happy and courteous — stop to talk — are kind to each other,” Slabodnik said. “That attitude is healthy, and that’s why I’m doing what I do: extending people’s happiness and health.”

Slabodnik owns Cayucos Aloha Spa. Although she spent 23 years in Chico in retail banking, once she and husband, Mark, retired and moved to Cayucos in 2003, she embraced the slower pace. She walked the beaches collecting sea glass and saving starfish. She had a massage therapy license before Mark suddenly passed away in 2007. She decided to take esthetician training in Pismo Beach, thinking she could open a business focused on skin care.

“No one in Cayucos was doing massage and skin care in a spa setting. When the economy turned, people wanted to feel better, so massage has been more popular. It makes them happier.”

After four years and the move to 196 S. Ocean Ave., her business has stabilized. Among her most popular packages: couples massage and massage/facial combination.

Slabodnik recalls coming to the coast at age 5.

“We used to camp at Morro Rock and San Simeon. We were in the first group to visit Hearst Castle once State Parks took over. There were still lots of giraffes and zebras and no guided tours. My father wanted us to own property here. In 1973, when lots were $3,000, he brought my sisters here. I was young, and it was foggy, and I didn’t want that. Later, Mark and I visited friends, then sight unseen we bought the house across the street from them.”

As a board member of the Cayucos Chamber of Commerce, Slabodnik is excited about what’s happening in Cayucos.

“Typical of Cayucos, community members are working to open the Visitor Center. Shirley Lyon was very helpful getting the former video store lease. The Visitor Alliance, the chamber and Historical Society will share it. The third Sea Glass Festival is in March.”

Judy Salamacha’s column is special to The Tribune. Reach her at or 801-1422.

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