Though we say goodbye to the numerous businesses that shut their doors for good each year, we don’t always look back at the new, up-and-coming businesses that opened their doors in the year past.
But 2017 was a pretty good year for business openings, so as we prepare to ring in 2018, here’s a look at some of the new businesses that popped up in SLO County this year.
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(We have only included businesses that opened new locations, not those that relocated or increased their square footage at existing locations. This is also far from a comprehensive list, so let us know if we missed anything!)
Thrive Training Center Inc.: After months of interior work to customize its space, Thrive Training Center Inc., an Atascadero-based gymnastics facility, opened its second location Feb. 1 at 1131 Creston Road, Unit 98, in Paso Robles. The business is owned by Anne Flores, 48, of Templeton and Raleigh Carter, 32, of Paso Robles. It features four in-ground trampolines, a 40-foot-long in-ground tumble track, an 18-foot-by-20-foot in-ground foam pit that’s 6 feet deep, plus bars, balance beams, a spring floor and vaulting area.
Red Bee Coffee: The 1,000-square-foot shop, located at 278 W. Grand Ave. in Grover Beach, held a soft opening in March, but later in the the year opened seven days a week with expanded hours. Owner Crosby Moreton said he modeled Red Bee after coffeehouse ministries, which offer a place for people to gather, share experiences and enjoy some espresso.
Libertine Brewing Co.: Libertine, which started on the Embarcadero in Morro Bay in 2012, and expanded into the 9,000-square-foot space at 1234 Broad St. in San Luis Obispo in 2015, opened a restaurant at the SLO site in March. The site also features a bar, tasting room and coffee bar. Like Libertine’s beers, both the restaurant and coffee bar are driven by local ingredients and collaborations.
Wine Boss: Thomas Booth, an alumnus of Cal Poly’s wine and viticulture program, began serving drinks in April at Wine Boss, located at 1317 Park St. in Paso Robles. Booth said his bar specializes in wines produced by the “small guy,” or vintners making 1,500 cases or less. Wine Boss also offers cider, beer and even sake, a Japanese rice wine.
Mint+Craft Cafe and Mercantile: It was a busy year for the Coveys (they also opened Cafe Fiero in March); the well-known restaurateurs opened Mint+Craft in downtown San Luis Obispo (though they asked for some help funding construction when costs doubled before opening). It offers fresh, innovative meals. Store shelves have things like house-made pickled vegetables, sauces, spice mixtures and more, as well as locally crafted cups, bowls, linen napkins and tablecloths.
Planted: The health food restaurant and market opened at 201 Branch St. in Arroyo Grande in April, featuring a menu of organic juices, smoothies, salads and other items, plus health foods available in the market. Owners Kathy and Glenn Essen, who also own CJ’s Cafe in Arroyo Grande, said they felt there was a need for someplace that offered a completely plant-based menu.
Lunada Garden Bistro: The historic Way Station in Cayucos is once again home to a fine dining restaurant – Lunada Garden Bistro. Lunada is run by a trio of cousins: Pablo Favila, Jorge Lopez and Marco Lucatero, who grew up working at various restaurants in Cambria before deciding to open their own place with the support of their families. Its signature menu item? Half-pound truffle burgers.
Kraken Coffee: Kraken Coffee Co. is located in a highly visible corner spot along Avila Beach’s main shopping area at 310 Front St. Owner James Whitaker is no stranger to the coffee game: He’s co-owner of Kreuzberg Coffee in downtown San Luis Obispo, as well as cookie stop Batch and acai bowl spot Bowl’d. Besides the typical fare often found in coffee shops, the cafe offers T-shirts, sweatshirts and even stickers emblazoned with the Kraken logo.
Santa Maria Brewing Co.: Santa Maria Brewing Co., located at 115 Cuyama Lane near the San Luis Obispo County line, opened a new brewery and restaurant in Atascadero and a new taproom and restaurant in Paso Robles. Owner Byron Moles, who purchased the business from brewer Dan Hilker in 2013, said the expansion was several years in the making — the right locations happened to open up at the right time.
Encore: Owner Kimberly Nelson opened an eclectic new West Village shop at 683-A Main St. in Cambria this summer. Encore’s offerings include much more than new and previously adored, consigned clothing in search of a new home: Sharp-eyed shoppers wandering around Encore can find treasures everywhere, from high-end sunglasses, literary totes and obscure buttons to hats, bath salts, quality writing papers, trendy shoes, lingerie, unusual greeting cards and much more.
Vegetable Butcher: Vegetable Butcher is the creation of executive chef Becky Windels and her husband, front-of-house manager John Windels. They share ownership of Vegetable Butcher with business colleague Richard Hanen. The Latin American-inspired menu offers dishes for vegetarians, vegans and meat lovers, as well as wine, beer, signature sangria and margaritas.
Poke Chef: Will Yan and his wife, Pinky, opened their first Poke Chef in San Luis Obispo in 2016. Then in July they opened a second restaurant at 1405 Spring St. in Paso Robles, followed by a third location at the same complex as The Rib Line and Oki Momo Asian Grill in San Luis Obispo. The restaurants serve poke bowls and sushi burritos.
Coast Electronics: Just three months after RadioShack closed its corporate retail store in San Luis Obispo, the nearly century-old electronics brand was back in the city following an expansion of independent franchisee, Coast Electronics — a family-owned business with more than 39 years in Morro Bay and a year-old location in Buellton. Owner John Weiss opened the newest location at 1336 Madonna Road in San Luis Obispo at the Laguna Village Shopping Center.
Dark Nectar Coffee Roaster: Dark Nectar Coffee Roaster — at 5915 Entrada Ave., just north of Sunken Gardens — started brewing and roasting in Atascadero in September. The shop is Dark Nectar’s second North County location; owner Danny Jones has been crafting his blends and single origins in Templeton for about six years. The company’s logo, a hooded monk sipping a steaming cup of coffee, is a tribute to lore that imagines monks as the original coffee drinkers.
Nautical Bean: Owner Brett Jones opened his second Nautical Bean location in San Luis Obispo at 2010 Parker St. The new location is more than 2,700 square feet, a significantly larger space than the original Nautical Bean (960 square feet), which Jones has owned since 2002 in the Laguna Lake Shopping Center.
DSW: DSW — Designer Shoe Warehouse — opened its first SLO County store in the Madonna Plaza in San Luis Obispo in September, taking over the space formerly occupied by Sports Authority. DSW operates large-format shoe stores, typically around 20,000 square feet, offering a wide selection of brand-name and designer shoes and accessories for women, men, and kids. The company operates 510 stores in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Three Stacks and a Rock: Chuck Nettnin and Ananda Nettnin reopened the Morro Bay microbrewery in October after buying it from previous owners Carlee Markhart and Jared Scott and making improvements that include a new menu and house-made beer. (Markhart and Scott opened the pub in February and closed in September.)
Dead Oak Brewing Co.: Dead Oak Brewing Co., located just off Sunken Gardens at 5925 Entrada Ave., opened its doors to the public in October. It is the first establishment opened by Nikki and Jesse Kaltenberg. Nikki Kaltenberg said they want Dead Oak to be more like a winery or tasting room than a bar. The 2,400-square-foot space won’t have televisions and will be targeted at older millennials and families, she said.
Blue Moon over Avila: Blue Moon Over Avila, a new wine bar and French bistro, opened at 460 Front St. in Avila Beach. The restaurant is owned by Nanci Bell and features dishes by Jose Dahan with a mix of traditional French, international and contemporary cuisine. The seasonal rotating menu also pairs with boutique wine and beer selections.
Negranti Creamery: A North County sheep’s milk ice cream company recently opened its first scoop shop in Paso Robles. Negranti Creamery on Nov. 4 opened a location in Tin City, just off Highway 101 at 2989 Limestone Way. Owner Alexis Negranti has been selling her sweet treats on a wholesale basis and at weddings and events for about six years — ice cream lovers might have bought pints at Vons, Whole Foods, Bristol Farms and other retailers.
Pro Image Sports: Pro Image Sports opened Nov. 8 in the Pismo Beach Premium Outlets, specializing in licensed team apparel, hats and novelty items. Owner Chuck Stanley said: “We have merchandise from every team in every league — not just your local California franchises. You can walk into the store a fan of any team, and we will have something for you.”
The Pad Climbing: SLO-Op Climbing co-founders Kristin and Yishai Horowitz began developing their fourth gym in June at 888 Ricardo Court in San Luis Obispo. The Pad Climbing is about 14,000 square feet, nearly four times the size of SLO-Op Climbing on Prado Road, and 13,000 square feet of that space is dedicated to bouldering and rope-climbing sections.
Nourish: Diners in downtown San Luis Obispo have a new option: Nourish, located next to Granada Hotel & Bistro. Described as a “fresh and fast takeaway restaurant,” the eatery opened its doors at 1126 Morro St. The menu features food “inspired by the active culture of the Central Coast” with “locally grown, nutrient-rich and ethically sourced cuisine.”
UberEats: UberEATS launched its food delivery service in the San Luis Obispo area in December, following recent starts in Santa Barbara and Bakersfield and growing use in major U.S. cities. A subsidiary of the company Uber Technologies that’s widely known for its app-based taxi services, UberEATS offers food delivery for about 25 restaurants in the San Luis Obispo area.
Farmstead Kitchen and Catering: Opened in the former Panolivo spot in Paso Robles at 1344 Park St., Farmstead Kitchen and Catering (formerly Farmstead Catering) focuses on farm-to-table cuisine. The restaurant, from chef John McDevitt, sources from the company’s Paso farm, and uses ingredients from local seafood and meat vendors.
Editor’s Note: Cafe Fiero has been removed from the list because it closed in early December.