Q A &
SANTA ANA, CA
mind, body, and spirit
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 1
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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 3
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10 PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE
14 IN BOX
22 MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR
32 SLO CITY REAL ESTATE
34 SLO COUNTY REAL ESTATE
36 NO PLACE LIKE HOME
38 SPECIAL INTEREST
40 VOTERS’ GUIDE
48 ON THE RISE
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| PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE
It seems like only yesterday that I was going door-to-door, neighborhood-by-neighborhood with a small army of Cal Poly students to hand
out the first issue of SLO LIFE Magazine. Like most start-up ventures it was exhilarating, enlightening, and, quite frankly, scary as hell.
This publication marks our third year in business, and I have met quite a few people along the way who have asked me some variation of
the question, “Why in the world did you decide to start a magazine?” My answer usually begins with a basic recap of my resume, including
my stints with both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
During my years at the Times, I relished the hours I spent with the old guys in the “Decomposing Room” on the 9th floor of the aging
headquarters anchoring Times Square. Since the Grey Lady was a union company they were unable (and unwilling) to fire the obsolete
employees who had spent their careers meticulously doing pre-digital work, such as hand-composing newspaper stories with hot lead type.
But, as computers took over, they spent their days “decomposing”—mostly by talking to
impressionable newbies like me, who hung on to every word of their stories about newspaper
circulation battles on the streets of Manhattan back in the day.
Those are memories I would never trade, but the truth is, it was the lessons I learned
working with a much less well-known media company, the Chinese Yellow Pages, which
still stick with me to this day. When our paths crossed, Mark Jaffe, a former carnival barker,
and Matt Davis, a dive bar tour operator, were then two very colorful thirty-something San
Francisco entrepreneurs, who saw a need for an in-language Chinese version of the yellow
pages in the Bay Area (despite the fact that they could not speak or write the language).
They went on a wild ride and brought me and a dozen or so other souls along. And it’s
those experiences that give me so much respect and appreciation for the small business
people I meet locally every day as the publisher of SLO LIFE Magazine.
According to Matt and Mark, the reason we all got along so well, was that I was the one
and only person who had ever asked for a cash advance… before I was even an employee,
during my first interview. At the time, I was truly broke. I had not lived in San Francisco
long when I was down to one meal a day: two bean burritos and a glass of water at the
Taco Bell on Market Street. As it turned out, my new employers could relate to my struggle
because they weren’t doing much better.
Privy to the tenuous state of the business, we were all blown away when we saw Matt roll up to the office one day, not in his banged up
Toyota, but in a new Rolls Royce. While scrambling at the eleventh hour to make payroll, Matt found himself lying awake the night before
wondering how he was going to hold the company together. For some reason, he decided to open the classified section of the local paper
where he found an ad that read, “I will give you $5,000 take over the payments on my car!” It turns out that some old rich guy had gotten
himself into a bind and was unable to sell his car before leaving the country. And with serendipitous timing, the transaction gave Matt just
enough cash to cover payroll. Our checks cleared, the boss had a sweet ride (which he sold at a profit two months later), and, together, we
lived to fight another day.
I have a friend who likes to say, “Something is worth doing if you end up with a good story to tell after you’ve done it.” And, I see it as
our mission to discover and share those stories that have been “worth doing” with you. It’s a reflection of the people living here in this
incredible community that, in three years of reporting, we have not even scratched the surface.
I would like to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to everyone who had a hand in producing this issue of SLO LIFE Magazine and,
most of all, to our advertisers who have made this publication, and our third birthday, possible.
Live the SLO Life!
10 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
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Open Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm
12 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
We want to
hear from you!
Have some comments or feedback
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that you think everyone should know
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Tell us your
So many of the stories we publish come
from our readers’ great leads. We are
always looking for interesting homes to
profile (see “Dwelling” on page 26), have
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Share it with us! To get an idea, check out
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Submit your story ideas, events, recipes
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The opinions expressed within these
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CIRCULATION, COVERAGE AND
Complete details regarding circulation,
coverage and advertising rates, space,
sizes and similar information are
available to prospective advertisers.
Please call or email for a media kit.
Closing date is 30 days before date of
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
4251 S. Higuera Street, Suite 800
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Letters chosen for publication may be
edited for clarity and space limitations.
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 13
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m a g a z i n e
challenge, triumph, and
>> Cover Girl
I would like to make a comment on the article
written about Sonja Polk. I was a neighbor of
hers. I never got to know her, but really enjoyed
your article. I would like to add one thing about
Sonja that was not mentioned in your story. She
has a beautiful singing voice. As a neighbor, I
liked to sit outside at night and smell the air and
hear the sounds of the neighborhood. There were
more than a few evenings when her voice was
the best sound of the evening and gave lightness
to my spirit. Thank you Sonja.
- BrendaLee Bumbalow Dominguez
>> Teach School
I read with interest your article on Teach
School. I think it was sensitive, caring, and
provided quite a bit of information. However, it
was incomplete and included a few mistakes in
regard to history.
History of Teach School: The school was
created in the mid 1940s by Charles E. Teach,
superintendent of the district for twenty
years (hence the name of the school). It was
a local school, located between Ferrini Rd.
and Cuesta Dr. By the late seventies, it had
acquired the reputation of being the best school
in SLO, that’s why I bought a house in the
neighborhood. Unfortunately, my daughter was
able to go there only one year, after which they
closed the school and the Teach children joined
the Quintana children on their campus. To
make everyone more comfortable, the school was
renamed Bishop’s Peak.
Meanwhile, Teach school was rented out. Some
years later, it was reopened as an accelerated
program, something that fit well with its
environment because the school only had
16 classrooms, some of which were used as
offices. Pretty soon, the district realized they
were spending too much money on the Teach
school students, and decided to close a school
again. Everyone thought they would close
Teach again, but something had happened
in between: measure A. This measure was
approved by voters to upgrade all the schools
in the district. Instead of upgrading all the
schools, district administrators decided to
set aside part of the money to close Pacheco
(which had 26 classrooms) and move it to Teach
school. Measure A money allowed them to add
9 portable classrooms to Teach. To confuse the
issue even further, they sent Charles E. Teach
packing to Bishop’s Peak, and renamed Teach,
Pacheco (I hope you are following me.)
Pacheco II (located where Teach school used
to be): Pacheco II is a magnet school, with a
bilingual English-Spanish program. It attempts
to have an equal number of English-speaking
and Spanish-speaking children, collects
Spanish-speaking children from all over the
district and brings them to the school. There
are 8 buses daily, special teachers and assistants
who can teach in Spanish, while others teach in
English, etc. Obviously, an expensive program.
It is also a failing program. Ever since its
beginning around 2000, the school has been on
some form of probation because too few of the
Spanish-speaking children achieve proficiency
in English and math. Children learn in English
one week, and in Spanish the next, which means
that children receive half the amount of English
that they would receive in a regular school.
This is a minor problem for English speaking
children, who receive a great deal of help from
their parents, but it is a serious one for Spanish
speaking children. Between 2005 and 2011, each
year less than half (sometimes as low as 23%)
became proficient in English.
There is obviously something very wrong going
on, but nobody dares to bring up the issue.
Any magnet school costs a great deal more
than a local school (except, ironically, a school
like Teach, which neither has its own campus
nor its own principal). In difficult financial
times, the logical thing to do is to get rid of
these special programs. But pointing at a school
while overlooking the other is both unfair and
stupid. I have no idea why the district insists on
keeping an expensive failing program (one, by
the way, that should have been made illegal by
proposition 227), but I have a hard time feeling
sorry for the district. Mr. Prater said: “I can
support it [Teach] if it is doing great things for
kids, but not if it is at the expense of the whole.”
Hmm… Mr. Prater, you are not being honest.
- Odile Ayral
Professor emeritus in French
>> Shout Out
We would like to give a shout out to friend and advertiser Gavin Payne as he
sets out on his own with his newly established real estate office here in San
Luis Obispo. We wish Payne and everyone at Haven Properties much success.
| CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURE
Inspired by the possibility
of combining two popular
trails, a coalition of Central
Coast residents have come
together to make it happen.
It’s springtime on the Central Coast. The dew on the
hills gleam green in the sunshine, birds cheerfully
serenade any soul within earshot, pink and white
buds bring a softness to stark branches. It’s that time
of year when you hear the phrase, “Love is in the air.”
Spring’s magic is in the freshness of the breeze, and
warmth of the days that fill me with a desire to enjoy
the beautiful weather and experience something new.
If you are also looking for something new, I
suggest exploring the most recent addition to
the San Luis Obispo trail network—the Froom
Canyon Johnson Ranch trail.
The recent marriage of two popular trails overlooking
SLO thrills hikers and mountain bikers alike. The
3.7-mile Johnson Ranch Loop explores the municipal
open space, which is dominated by rolling grassy hills
and accented by serpentine rocks. A shortcut can be
used to trim the hike to 2.5 miles. There is 200 feet
of total elevation between the high and low points
of the hike, a distance that is repeated several times
over the meandering loop. Froom Canyon also offers
a beautiful trail that starts inside the canyon, peaks its
head out for a panoramic view of San Luis Obispo’s
most prominent morros—Bishop Peak and Cerro
San Luis—and then loops back to the beginning.
City park rangers along with volunteers from such
groups as Central Coast Concerned Mountain
Bikers, The SLO Stewards, and Central Coast
Hiking Group saw the potential for combining these
two loops and bonded together through events called
Trailwerks to build a new connector trail between
Froom Canyon and Johnson Ranch on behalf of the
SLO City Parks and Recreation Department. The
connector path runs from a dirt road in the Froom
Creek area, over a chaparral-covered ridge and along
another dirt road before it drops down to Johnson
Ranch from an oak-covered hill. After months of
digging, clearing, and grading, locals have been gifted
with this new trail, which is perfect for a long family
hike or group mountain biking adventure.
BY PADEN BY PADEN HUGHES HUGHES
If you have a young family and plan to hike the trail, it may be a good idea to park a car
at Johnson Ranch before starting at Froom Canyon. That way if the kids get tired, you
can adjust your plans to a one-way trip instead of completing the loop. Also, beware of
mountain bikers who may surprise you around blind corners.
>> Trail to Nowhere
Read your Blazing Trails article. I was excited
to read about this, and then discovered that you
a) did not say where either of the existing trails
are, and b) explain where the elusive connection
is. I doubt one person learned anything new
except that there is a great, longer hike they can
do now, but they wish they knew how to do it.
A map would be helpful, inset into the photo at
least. Or at least a description written up.
- Mark Flemming
Phone Message: Calling to comment on the
“Blazing Trails” article: She says at no place is
there an address for the location. She suggests
that you give an address for future articles about
the area. She is new to San Luis Obispo and
was very interested in checking it out but did
not know where it was. I was happy to Google
Johnson Ranch for her and give her an access
point. She declined a call/email response.
- Barbara Zajac
>> We got a lot of flack for this one, and
rightly so. A map would have been great, but
we just did not think of it at the time. For
those that would like to check out the trails in
great depth, we recommend that you visit Seth
Smigelski’s excellent website hikespeak.com. The
trails in question can be found on the site under
“Johnson Ranch – Irish Hills Connector Trail in
San Luis Obispo.”
TO THE PERFECT SUMMER HANDBAG
luxe leather from $175
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OPEN EVERY DAY
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 15
Victoria finally reveals
her secret: Jamestown, an
Atlanta-based real estate
investment company buys
Court Street and Downtown
Centre in SLO from
Copeland Properties. The
deal, which includes 195,000
square feet, was valued around
$50 million. Other tenants
(aside from Victoria) affected
include: Pottery Barn, Urban
Outfitters, the Cal Poly Store,
and the space that formerly
housed Sports Authority.
The lawsuit filed against the Air Pollution Control District
(APCD) by Friends of Oceano Dunes and Kevin P. Rice
is tossed out by Judge Charles Crandall. He found that the
science and methodology used to monitor the air pollution
at the dunes was solid and created by thousands of ATV
enthusiasts, as was hypothesized by researchers.
In what had been called the
“deepest cuts in 10 years,”
the San Luis Coastal Unified
School District trustees
voted unanimously to trim
another $4.2 million from the
budget, which will include
more than 40 jobs. Two
full-time elementary school
counselors are preserved
after heavy lobbying from
parents and other community
A group of investors who
control Wild Cherry Canyon,
the 2,400 acres of open space
between Avila Beach and Los Osos,
effectively end the $21 million effort
to convert the land into a public park,
which would have added some 20 miles
of new coastal trails.
After 12 years of fighting
about code violations, Dan
De Vaul, who had spent
time in jail over the dispute
at one point, finally gets
legal approval to operate
Sunny Acres, his homeless
shelter on Los Osos Valley
Road. Tenants are allowed
to pay for their stay by
working for De Vaul gratis
on the 72-acre ranch.
april 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
16 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
Al Moriarty, owner of a Grover Beach-based
financial services firm, is arrested in Washington
State and booked on eight separate charges
including fraud and embezzlement. Moriarty,
a major supporter of Cal Poly Athletics, was
extradited to San Luis Obispo County jail a few
days later where he turned 80-years-old while
awaiting his first court appearance.
SLO City Council unanimously
consents to give third year City
Attorney, Christine Dietrick, a
4.7% raise bringing her salary
up to $168,000. The pay hike
was on top of a 3.5% increase
she received in 2012. At
$14,000 per month Dietrick’s
income is greater than that
of California State Attorney
General Kamala Harris, who
after a 5% pay cut in December,
takes home $143,571 per year.
years in business,
Arroyo Grande ice
parlor, Doc Burnstein’s,
is moving into the space formerly
occupied by Cold Stone’s Creamery
on Higuera Street in SLO. In an
effort to raise the $250,000 needed to
open the store, owner Greg Steinberger
sold stock to the community in a newly
created “B-Corp.” Rumor has it that the
first quarterly dividend will be paid in the
form of two scoops of Peanut Butter Cup
Delight on a sugar cone.
Cal Poly officials announce
plans for a $200 million project
to build additional on-campus
housing for 1,400 students. It is
reported that Residents for Quality
Neighborhoods celebrated the
news by throwing a backyard party,
which is broken up by police after
receiving a slew of anonymous
calls from college students who
complained that they just wanted a
little peace and quiet so they could
get the rest they needed to get up
and go to school in the morning.
A confused, out of town black bear was found
wandering around the base of Morro Rock.
When questioned, he said he was just looking
for “The Bears.” Authorities were puzzled for a
while until one of them finally said, “Oh, you’re
talking about Los Osos!” After explaining to the
250-pound bear that he was supposed to take
a right on South Bay Boulevard not a left, they
cautioned him to steer clear of Carlock’s Bakery
where bear claws are a popular item on the menu.
Similar to Yoga Berra’s description of a particular restaurant that
“always has a line, so nobody goes there,” the Tour of California
saw crowds that were much smaller than expected at the Avila
Beach finish line. Tejay van
Garderen wins the
race, but one observer points
out that he could also
shave valuable seconds off the
time it takes him to sign
his name by going
with just a “T”
and a “J.”
may 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 17
This summer, San Luis Obispo will celebrate the 30 Year Anniversary of its Thursday Night Farmers’ Market. And Deborah Cash, who
heads up the Downtown Association, has been there since its humble inception. Today, Farmers’ Market is recognized as world-class and is
credited as a top tourist draw to the Central Coast. We caught up with Cash recently to learn about how it got started…
How did you start working for
the Downtown Association?
I call it a happy accident. I moved
here in 1974 and went to Cal Poly.
I was going to study viticulture
because I really wanted to learn
about winemaking. I ended up
opening a wine shop downtown.
Then I changed my focus to
journalism and went back to
school. I worked for a marketing
firm for a while and then the
Mozart Festival. But my heart was
always downtown, and so when
this position became available I
had a lot of the pieces and it all
fit together. I’ve been here for 18
years. It’s been wonderful. It’s been
a wonderful career. I’ve had a really,
really good time. And I can say
that downtown has really advanced
in the past 15-20 years because
of our efforts and our passion. All
of us here in this office, we’re very
passionate about downtown. So, I
just kind of landed here like I was
always supposed to be here.
What is the Downtown Association,
really? What does it do?
It has always been our M.O. to
not toot our own horns or pat
ourselves on our backs. I mean, a
lot of people think that the City
puts on the Farmers’ Market or
the Concerts [in the Plaza], for
example. And we often hear from
people who are saying the same
thing that you’re saying, “Who are
you and what do you do? Are you
the Chamber?” We are essentially
a business improvement district.
Back in 1975 a group of businesses
got together and said, “We want to
promote downtown more.” Back
then downtown didn’t look like it
does now. It was pretty different.
They formed an assessment district
whereby all of the businesses
here, and there about 650 of them
currently, assess themselves a fee.
And that fee is collected by the
City and dispersed back to us to do
certain activities that enliven the
district. It’s not a voluntary
18 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
membership. If your business
falls within the boundaries it’s
a mandatory fee. When you get
your business tax certificate for the
first time or renew it, you pay a
surcharge. That makes up about a
third of our budget so we have to
raise other money.
What about the chain stores?
Aren’t they driving out the mom
and pops downtown?
I think we’re seeing a really
good mix in terms of chains and
independents. Our infrastructure
is such that there’s not a lot of
room for the bigger stores. So the
smaller stores will always have the
opportunities to have these little
spaces like we have on Garden
Street or Chorro Street or Morro
Street. You are seeing some really
clever entrepreneurs fill those
spaces who are making them work
and taking advantage of the size.
Yet the bigger chain stores are
also attracting foot traffic, which
benefits the smaller independents.
So, it’s actually a really nice mix
and I don’t really agree with people
that say that the chains shouldn’t
be here. I think that they provide
a solid economic base, a level of
sophistication and an impetus
for other stores around them to
maintain their properties to a
Okay, so how exactly did Farmers’
Market get its start?
In the 70’s San Luis was like the
Valley on Thursday nights; it had
car cruising. You remember the
movie American Graffiti? It was
like that. On Thursday nights the
cars would go up Higuera and
down Marsh and do the loop all
night long. And what happened
was that people stopped coming
downtown on Thursdays because
they didn’t want to get in the
middle of all that. The town was
kind of taken over by the cruisers,
which sounds kind of cool but
the businesses didn’t like it. So,
they went to the City and said,
“You need to stop the car cruising
and these young hooligans.” So,
the City closed down the streets.
They blocked the streets off. So,
instead of cars, you had nothing.
You didn’t have anybody. It was
empty. Eventually, some of the
restaurants got together and said,
“We should do something.” They
brought some barbeques out, not
the big ones they have now but
little ones. And then somebody
said, “I know someone who has
some volleyball nets.” So they set
up volleyball courts on Higuera.
Soon there were more activities
popping up and some of the
downtown businesses started
setting up booths. After a while
the Downtown Association
stepped in and said, “Let us
organize the affair.”
Who all was involved in those
first Farmers’ Markets?
Hmm… let’s see… it was
McLintock’s, the Wine Street Inn,
which was a fondue restaurant,
Wine Street Wines, which was
my wine shop, Old Country Deli,
and I think there was one more.
I set up a booth on the street and
I used to bring out beer-making
supplies. I had these kits that
people could buy to make their
own beer. College students loved
it, you know. I really enjoyed just
being out there talking to people.
And then I would send them down
to my shop downstairs. You can’t
sell alcohol at the Market. But I
did have wine bottles on display
and people would come over and
I’d say, “I can’t serve it but I have a
tasting room right downstairs.” So,
I’d just funnel people right down
to my shop. [laughter] For $5, or
whatever it was, they could go taste
wine. Farmers’ Market is just a real
feel-good thing, and it has been
since the beginning. I still go down
there. In fact, I’ll be there tonight
taking pictures. And I still get
goose bumps watching people have
a good time, sitting on the curb
eating their ribs. SLO LIFE
Call us today for your consultation
But they just might change your life.
Helping You Hear The Things You Love
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 19
PHOTOGRAPH BY TREVOR POVAH
In 2008 local photographer, Trevor Povah, filmed and
produced a documentary called “Lost in the Middle” which
explored local surf culture by profiling eight Central Coast
surfers. Povah explains that the surfers in our area are a
different breed who are “self-reliant and understand our
ocean with its fickle breaks, cold weather, and ‘sharky’ waters.”
Here Povah captures his friend and fellow surfer, Anthony
Circosta, in Cayucos executing a hard cutback on a perfect
spring day with “just the right amount of offshore wind to
help give the wave a nice shape.” Povah swam around in a
wetsuit and a pair of fins for nearly two hours with his Canon
1D Mark II N, which was concealed in waterproof plastic
housing to get the shot that you see here. Povah, who has
since moved on from movie making, says that “video editing
just destroyed my mind, and I couldn’t imagine doing that
for a career.” Today, he can be found shooting landscape
and architectural photos for his real estate clients while still
making time to surf as often as possible. SLO LIFE
Do you have an amazing photo to share? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
20 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 21
| MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR
In this installment of our “Meet Your Neighbor” series,
SLO LIFE Magazine sits down for a conversation with Rick
Stollmeyer. In 1998 he co-founded MindBody, a software
company that provides a studio management online program
to small businesses in the health and wellness industries. The
company currently has 600 employees and is set to build a
new campus near the San Luis Obispo Airport. MindBody is
one of the Central Coast’s fastest growing companies—ever.
We had a long, wide-ranging conversation that touched on
everything from the wisdom of going public to instilling work
ethic in young people and the psychology of small business
owners. Here is his story…
PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHRIS BERSBACH
So, Rick, how did all of this get started?
I had family in the area—my dad moved up to
Morro Bay to retire. I was a submarine officer in
the Navy when I came out in the early 90’s. We
had been in a recession. I ended up in San Luis
Obispo, right up the street here in the Arbors,
and was working in engineering management
and commuting to Vandenberg Air Force Base.
I had three kids at the time. I was happy to have
a job and to have moved here to the Central
Coast; but, to me, what was missing in my work
was a real passion for the mission. We were
sending things up into orbit, like a satellite that
could track terrorists, and do really important
things. But, there was a lack of passion in the
people I saw around there. Since I had come
from submarines where—talk about passion —
we were truly driven by the higher-level purpose
of what we were doing. And so I was hungry
for an opportunity where I could really be all-in
and really excited by it and with a team that
was really excited. That was really the story of
my career for several years. I kind of bounced
around doing different things, moderately
successful on the surface but not really that
happy or that engaged.
When did things start to change?
One day a high school buddy of mine, Blake
Beltram, gave me a call and asked me to meet
him after work in Santa Barbara at a coffee
shop on State Street. He said he wanted to
show me something. He demonstrated an early
version of the MindBody software program on
his laptop. It was called “HardBody Software”
at that time. He and I were talking about that
meeting recently and he reminded me that I
wasn’t very impressed at the time. [laughter] I
wasn’t like, “Wow!” It was more like, “Okay.” I
22 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
didn’t really get excited about it until I started to
spend time with the customers and could start
to see the sort of impact that the software was
making for them in their businesses. He had
like nine clients [today MindBody has nearly
30,000] and Blake was by himself, developing
the software, delivering it, training them how
to use it, and taking the support calls. So my
initial job was to go out and sell it. Three
weeks into it I realized that Blake was getting
buried by support calls. So I took the support
responsibility from him and hired some Cal
Poly students to start doing tech support out of
my garage—and that’s how we got started.
So, you quit your secure but uninspiring job.
In the early days the most natural thing for me
to do was to get a laptop and just start heading
up to San Francisco and down to LA and
just spend time with the customers to really
understand them. And the more I learned, the
more I just fell in love with them. It touches
everything I care about. I love small business.
I love local. I love health and wellness. And,
you know, something that America is just so
uniquely good at, it’s the people with the dream
that go chase that dream. Leave the safe job,
cash in their 401k and borrow money from
friends and family, take a second mortgage on
their home and sign a lease on a space in a strip
How has understanding the customer helped?
Having that insight about who these people
are gave me an understanding to know that, for
example, when we went into the recession in
2008, I knew that we weren’t going to lose that
many clients because they are all-in. They’re
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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 23
not going to quit because their revenues went
down 30%. They’re going to reduce staff, cut
costs, work six, seven days a week. You’re
going to go to the mattresses, man. That’s
how local businesses operate. We had many
competitors who didn’t understand that. We
knew that. We went out and raised money and
accelerated during that time. And that was
a critical moment. We raised $5.6 million in
March of ’09 when it was not an easy time to
raise money. The markets were in turmoil and
we had to do it at a discount, meaning that
those investors got more equity in the company
than they would have a year prior. But, those
dollars were so much more valuable. The trade
shows we attended were cheaper, the Google
AdWords were cheaper, talent was cheaper,
even the airline tickets were cheaper. So,
while our competition was back on their heels
waiting to see what would happen, we were
accelerating. And, that was a critical moment.
It’s very interesting to me that you can succeed
in good times and bad. It’s all about your
approach and making the right decisions. It
does not necessarily mean going where the
herd is going.
Whatever happened to your high school buddy?
Bob Murphy, my partner now, bought him
out. Blake had grown tired of the business. We
weren’t making any money. I mean we were
busting our butts and making nothing. Early
on he said, “This really isn’t my lifelong dream.”
And I said, “You know what, it might just be
mine.” I was falling in love with it while he was
falling out of love with it. Start-ups have these
sort of strange paths like this. The clean start-up
story with the perfect conception of an idea
rarely is the real story. The real story is usually,
how did that idea lead to the next idea and
the next idea after that. So, when Bob bought
him out, he embraced the notion of the online
version. Blake didn’t get it. Blake, frankly was
invested in the notion of the desktop software.
That was his baby. He built it. And going online,
as I was suggesting, was going to kill his baby.
Just to clarify, this was a critical decision
in that you had opted to go with the online
version and charged a small monthly fee for
use of the software, which is sometimes called
a subscription model instead of selling the
desktop software for thousands of dollars a
pop, correct? And who exactly is Bob?
Yes, that’s right, 100% online. It’s often referred
to now as “cloud computing” or “SaaS,” which
is software as a service. So, Bob was one of our
first clients in New York. I had gone out and
set up Bob in New York City. He had multiple
locations of his studio called Be Yoga. He
and his wife ran the studio, one of the more
successful yoga studios in the country. But he
24 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
was burning out on running the studios and he
ended up selling his business to YogaWorks,
who was another one of our clients. So, he took
a portion of the proceeds and used it to buy out
Blake. So, Blake was able to get his capital out
and go pursue some other things that he was
interested in and now Bob’s my partner. And,
when he and I started talking about where we
wanted to go, we were in complete alignment.
So, now I call Bob a co-founder because the
company that pivoted at the time and became
web-only is a very different business model,
a completely different product than the one
we started with. We had co-founded a new
company because if we had stayed with the
desktop software we wouldn’t be here today. So,
it was really kind of a Phoenix rising out of the
ashes of the old company.
You got the right partner and hired hundreds
of happy employees. You must be a pretty
decent judge of character.
It took me hundreds of tries over several years
to develop a method by which I could really
understand someone’s value system. I can’t really
describe it to you, except I ask a lot of questions
about who they are and what motivates them
and let them do most of the talking. Lots of
open-ended questions. It isn’t that we are trying
to find the flaws in people, it’s just that we are
trying to find the fit. And, when you find the
fit, it’s a big “Yes!” And you just go, “Wow! This
person will do great here,” and it becomes a
bidirectional interview where the candidate is
also trying to determine whether they would
flourish in this place. What are the purposes
driving you? What do you want your life to
be about? Are you hungry to have your work
have meaning? Those people are fundamentally
different than people who are the opposite of
that, who may be apathetic or fatalistic, cynical
perhaps with a the-world’s-going-to-hell-andthere’s-nothing-I-can-do-about-it
Happy people are amazing. They just seem to be
happy regardless. We look for values, not skills.
It isn’t the “What” you’ve done that’s the most
interesting, it’s the “Why” and what it meant
to you. So, let’s say you majored in English
Literature, okay. Why? And what did you get
from it? The development of human ideas can
be found in literature. I mean pick your author.
There are so many exciting things you could say
about authors and literature. So, if somebody
majored in English Literature they better have
some very interesting things to say about it.
I’ve interviewed a lot of college grads and the
ones that didn’t have to work, or the ones whose
future was really scripted by their parents, you
can really tell from a mile away. And when
you see the ones where their parents, with all
the best intentions just funnel their children
a certain direction and paid for it all, they get
to the end of their college time and they are
really ill-prepared to enter the workforce and
they cannot explain to you why they majored in
What advice would you give to a young
entrepreneur just getting started locally?
Well, first of all, avail yourself to the unique
resources that we have in this community, the
Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
at Cal Poly, and the HotHouse [learn about
the SLO HotHouse by turning to page 44].
That’s amazing. That’s extraordinary. I mean,
how many communities have that? Second,
don’t be afraid to talk about your ideas with
the right people. A lot of times entrepreneurs
get freaked out thinking that they’ve got to
hold all their cards believing that their idea
is so valuable. Ideas are cheap. Chances are a
hundred people have already thought of your
idea. It’s the execution of ideas that matter.
We weren’t the only ones thinking of making
studio management software, there were dozens
of other people. We just did it better. And, so
being afraid to share ideas can be detrimental
because in the process of sharing them and
having a conversation like we are right now—
and you’ve given me some interesting things to
think about today—every conversation I have,
I gain something back. So, listen very carefully.
And, I think you need a business partner. I don’t
know any start up stories where one person did
it all. I’m trying to think of one. Not Steve Jobs,
not Bill Gates, not Google. So, get a partner
that believes in you and is complimentary so
that you’re not both trying to occupy the same
space. But then you have all of the challenges of
creating the relationship and there are about a
hundred different ways that the relationship will
fail. It’s like putting together a hit rock band,
Is there a name for the burgeoning tech
industry on the Central Coast? Silicon Coast?
Ooh, that would be great. I like that. I like that
a lot. Why don’t you start calling it that in your
magazine? It’s true, we have that here. There
was that company that Amazon bought; I’m
having trouble remembering their name, they
have 70 or 80 employees they are keeping here.
Rosetta/Level is doubling down with their
new building here. We’re doubling down with
our new building. We’re going through city
approvals right now. So, knock on wood, it’s all
being approved. It will be a 60,000 square foot
building located across the parking lot. It’s really
going to be beautiful. The main thing is going
to be the plaza. We’ll have a stage where we can
have presentations and the occasional live music.
We hope that playing the MindBody Plaza will
become a desired ticket punch for local bands.
We hope to get the permits this summer and
eak ground in September and occupy it a
year later, so September 2014. That will bring
our total square footage up to 138,000 here
in SLO because we will also be keeping our
space in the buildings we are already in. That
should be enough for a long time. We think
that we will top out at about 800 employees
in the area, right here. And, that’s probably
enough for the Central Coast. I don’t know
that the community needs more than that.
We can also imagine satellite offices. But
just looking at the roads and infrastructure
there’s only so much you can do here. But this
will always be our center. So, our intention
here is to put our roots in deep. And this is
the headquarters of the company. So, even
with the satellite offices they’ll come to
SLO for professional development meetings
and trainings. Even though we’ll have 800
employees here, we’ll have probably another
200 to 300 employees that come here from
time-to-time. They’ll stay in area hotels, eat in
our local restaurants. The economic impact to
the community will be huge. And I think the
economic impact when we go public will be
transformational. That will put us on the map.
People will say, “Wow, this San Luis Obispo
start-up went public? It’s headquartered in
SLO right next to this great university? It’s
got how many employees? This sounds like
Silicon Valley thirty years ago.”
Tell us about your family.
I’ve got four kids—20, 18, 13, and 8-yearsold.
I’m pleased to have a happy, healthy
family. My two older kids really don’t want
to be a part of MindBody. My thirteenyear-old,
Madison, she loves this place. I had
her come during spring break to work here;
she absolutely loves it. I mean real work; no
screwing around. I paid her out of my pocket
because I’m not sure it’s legal to hire her.
But, she turns 14 soon and this summer she’s
excited to work at MindBody. I think it’s cool.
It seems that industriousness runs in the
My formative years were working at my
dad’s retail store. It was so good for me. He
had a lighting store in Southern California;
Covina. All of my brothers and I worked
there. We gained our work ethics and values
from that experience. I thoroughly enjoyed
that. I want my kids, if they don’t work at
MindBody, and by the way, the reason my
oldest doesn’t work here is that she says that
people treat her differently. She felt that she
wouldn’t be challenged enough. She thought
she would be mollycoddled because she’s my
daughter. I don’t think that’s true, but that’s
how she felt. So, instead she went out and
worked fast food. I mean, she got a tough job.
I said, “Why don’t you come work with me at
MindBody?” And, Emily said, “Dad, I want
a real job.” [laughter] That’s the kind of thing
only a teenager can say to her father.
But, Emily’s college experience has to be an
easier path than most other kids, right?
My daughter, even though I have enough
income to pay for it, and she knows it, works
20 hours a week at a dining hall at UC
Santa Cruz. She was recently promoted to
manager. She called me a few weeks ago and
said, “Dad, I came to this realization that I
was the only one working there that didn’t
have to.” Her colleagues, other students,
were there busting their butts at this, it’s a
hard job, and they are doing it because mom
and dad can’t quite afford school. But, you
know what? Those kids are going to have
this gift of a work ethic. They’ll have the
focus and they’ll know that they’ve earned it.
And my daughter, I don’t have to push her,
she feels compelled to work as hard as she
can. Now, she’s also working at the marine
center. She started off as an unpaid docent,
a volunteer, because you have to work your
way in. Now they’re going to give her a paid
position, so she’s not coming home this
summer. I’m not one of those empty nester
parents, instead I’m like, “Yeah!” I do not
want a failure to launch at my house, it’s not
going to happen. [laughter]
You’ve got another one graduating now, right?
My son Marc has done a number of different
jobs, including working at my brother’s light
store, Stollmeyer Lighting. And he’s a good,
hard worker. The most proud thing about
my kids is that they all know how to work;
they’re all self-sufficient. That’s our family’s
ethic. I’m only two generations off of Dutch
immigrants. Hard working people. My son
is going to move down after high school to
Santa Barbara—a buddy of mine runs an
engineering company that he interned at last
summer and did so well in computer aided
design that he wants him back. Marc doesn’t
want to go straight into a university, he’s
had off-and-on effectiveness in a classroom
setting. But, he’s been involved in robotics at
Atascadero High. It’s astonishing, they have
a world-class robotics team. We have this
amazing robotics team that won the world
championship in 2011 and is consistently
in the top 5% of the 2,800 teams that are
out there. They are going to St. Louis in a
couple of weeks to have another shot at the
Rick, thank you for your time. It has been a
pleasure talking with you.
And thank you. I really enjoyed it. SLO LIFE
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 25
| DWELLING the
26 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
Jim Gerpheide likes to say that he does not really
own his home on Islay Street, he’s just “taking
care of it for a while.” And, together with his wife,
Shu-chen, the couple is doing everything they can to
ensure that the historic Sandercock House at 591 Islay
Street will be around for generations to come.
And, it does seem that Gerpheide was destined to own this
home and he has certainly had serendipity on his side. Years
ago, when Gerpheide was a college student at Cal Poly he rented
a bedroom in a house two blocks away for $50 a month (two other
roommates paid $50 each also, which amounted to $150 for the
entire house). “I must have walked past this place a million times,”
he remembers. Later in life, again by coincidence, he found himself
settled in just a block away. That’s when he decided to write the
owners of the home to inquire if they might be interested in selling.
Turns out they were.
The Sandercock House is named for Norman and Fannie
Sandercock who settled into the home in 1927. Warren was
the son of William and Adelaide Sandercock, who founded
Sandercock Transfer & Storage in 1872 (today it is the oldest
known family-owned business in San Luis Obispo County).
Sometime around 1905 they built a home at 535 Islay, which was
just down the street from their business at Leff and Beach. During
the early 1930’s, three generations of Sandercocks occupied three
of the four corners of city block 58. And the families remained
together in the same neighborhood for more than 20 years until
Warren moved to Arroyo Grande in the 1950’s. The home then
went through five different owners, each of whom owned the
And, the fact that he chose to mail a letter is just another
coincidence, as the property once served as a type of letter carrier
clubhouse. As the story goes, one of the previous owners was
a mailman who would invite his post office friends to come by
for a “cold refreshment” at the end of their shift. Apparently, a
makeshift flag was hoisted on the days when the bar was open and
the home would serve as a destination for postal workers to cool
their feet at the end of a long day carrying the mail around town.
One long-time neighbor reports that the entire corner was full of
“every letter carrier in town” on some days. And, in a nod to those
days, an old-fashioned street marker still points the way in the
front yard garden indicating that it is “Nipomo Street” running
along the side of the house.
By the time Gerpheide took ownership of the historic home,
the property had seen better days. Over the years some of the
basic maintenance and upkeep had been “deferred,” as they say.
But, fortunately, nothing was beyond repair. And much of it just
required some elbow grease, and paint. Aside from the kitchen,
which underwent a complete remodel, most of the home has kept
its original character. In fact, when Gerpheide first moved in, he
wanted to remove the wall that had been built in over the space
where the garage door had once hanged. He set out to custom
design the door and a year or so later, after completing the project,
a man showed up at the front door with some old black and white
photos. He had inherited them from his mother and he told
Gerpheide that he wanted him to have them. Upon inspecting the
photos, which had the year “1953” inscribed on the back, he was
shocked to see that the old garage door was exactly the same as
the one as he conceived and built.
Beyond preserving and restoring the original character, the
Gerpheide’s have thoughtfully placed souvenirs from their extensive
travels (they have recently returned from Turkey and a beautiful
property for about a decade, before Grapheide mailed his letter. handmade rug from Istanbul now rests under the coffee table in >>
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 27
the living room). Special attention to lighting is apparent
throughout, and antique fixtures can be found hanging in
every room. With modern day conveniences hidden from
view, it is the exquisite attention to period detail that is most
impressive. Except for the kitchen and master bedroom, it
would be nearly impossible to tell what year it was while
wandering through the surprisingly spacious two-bedroom,
two-bath home, as antiques to match the vintage of the
property take you back to a time long since passed.
Outside, a backyard oasis has evolved by moving the fence
further out toward the property line. A subtle Spanish styling
is evident but not overdone; and hints of Shu-chen’s Asian
heritage can be found by the trained eye. The couple, who
met in Taiwan while Gerpheide was there on business a few
years ago, points to the Formosa tree as yet another sign of
serendipity. Shu-chen shares that the tree makes her “feel at
home,” as Formosa is the old, informal name for Taiwan. The
name originates from Portuguese explorers and translates to
“beautiful island,” which could just as accurately describe the
home that sits at the corner of Islay and Nipomo Streets.
The warm, buttery yellow paint, a vase
bursting with rose blooms, and teal candles
invite dinner guests to pull up to the
antique table with its leather-backed chairs.
Attention to Detail
Vintage light fixtures and period antiques
combine to transport visitors back in time.
28 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 29
The master bedroom features a dark
wood sleigh bed, which provides
contrast in the otherwise airy,
This Formosa tree in the courtyard is a simple,
yet treasured reminder of Taiwan for Shu-chen.
Just big enough for two, this cozy room is
the perfect place to wake up slowly with a
freshly brewed cup of coffee.
30 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 31
| SLO CITY REAL ESTATE
by the numbers
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
*Comparing 1/1/12 — 5/20/12 to 1/1/13 — 5/20/13
SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS
32 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
There has to be a better way!
(And there is.)
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cell (805) 801-9302 // office (805) 545.9000
website robertjfederman.com // email email@example.com
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 33
| SLO COUNTY REAL ESTATE
by the numbers
AVERAGE DAYS ON
INVESTMENT RETIREMENT INSURANCE
Risk Management | Estate Planning
Accumulation | Taxation | Business
Planning | Retirement Planning
Paso (Inside City Limits)
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San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
David Nilsen is a Registered Representative and Investment Advisor Representative with/and offers
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*Comparing 1/1/12 — 5/20/12 to 1/1/13 — 5/20/13
89 79 260,000 284,950
107 63 385,000 437,500
109 74 369,000 417,000
SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®
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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 35
| NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Taking the road less traveled:
Hi Mountain Road
BY JEANETTE TROMPETER, KSBY NEWS
767 Foothill Blvd . Suite B
San Luis Obispo
Any one part or accessory
when you mention this ad.
Expires 7/31/13. Limit one per customer.
Some restrictions apply. Not valid with
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or labor. Not valid on sale items. Must
mention ad before purchase. Must add
name to shop mailing list to qualify.
36 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
Most of us like to take the most direct route
from point A to point B. That can also mean
missing out on some adventures, and there
are a lot of alternative routes to be explored
around the Central Coast.
There’s one of those that goes from Pozo to
Arroyo Grande and it’s more proof, there’s
No Place Like Home.
From the sleepy little community of Pozo,
there is a road less traveled, and there is kind
of a reason for that. As the name implies, Hi
Mountain Road takes you up and over one
of the mountain ranges that separates North
San Luis Obispo County from South.
In the 15-mile journey there is a lot of
ground to cover. As the crow flies, it is a
short cut, but you don’t want to be in a hurry
when you take this drive. It is a dirt road
that takes you over the rivers and through
the woods that encompass this mountain
pass, and there is a lot of scenery to take in
along the way.
The terrain is wooded and rugged in some
parts, open and airy in others. There are
spots to soak up sunshine and sit a spell with
a snack or picnic lunch if so inclined.
The road is rarely this smooth, so you need to
have a car with ground clearance and I would
prefer 4-wheel drive, just to play it safe.
With the bumps, ruts and river crossings
involved, it can sometimes be a rocky road,
but there is a new view around every corner.
This is a journey for those looking for
a little adventure on their commute and
amazing beauty along the way if they just
slow down long enough to take it all in.
In the spring, Mother Nature brings a little
kaleidoscope of color to the journey.
Whether you are feeling the need for an escape
to Sherwood Forest, or a reminder of the wide
open spaces that still exist around here, you will
get a little of both on Hi Mountain Road.
Sometimes the bumpy roads are the most
rewarding and it’s more proof, there’s No
Place Like Home. SLO LIFE
Jeanette Trompeter, KSBY News anchor and
reporter, hosts the “No Place Like Home” series
every Tuesday evening at 6pm.
1930 Monterey Street
San Luis Obispo
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1/4 Room . Accommodates up to 36 guests
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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 37
| SPECIAL INTEREST
BY TOM FRANCISKOVICH
It was another gorgeous day in town when I decided to roll
down all my windows and open the sunroof on my 1978
veggie oil-powered Mercedes. As I sat there at a stoplight
going through downtown, I was blindsided by a plume
of dust and the all-familiar sound of a gas-powered leaf
blower, which had just fired up on the sidewalk to my
right. I scrambled to roll up the windows, which is quite
a process in my car—on a good day, one window will roll
up at a time; otherwise they don’t roll up at all. On this day, the windows
stayed down and the interior of my car was blanketed with whatever
happened to be on the ground. Of course, I was more than a little bit
annoyed, but I also felt bad for the equipment operator. It really wasn’t
his fault and he gave me the “oops-sorry-about-that-bro” wave. After all
he was just doing his job. But, are there other ways to do the job? Right
now, as I type these words, another well-meaning gardener wielding a leaf
blower is working outside my window and the noise is making me crazy.
But, it has also got me thinking…
Many communities have struggled with this issue, and it appears that San
Luis Obispo County may now be primed to do so, as well. After recently
coming through the plastic bag debate, leaf blowers are likely next up
for the Board of Supervisors, as well as the various municipalities on the
Central Coast. The framework for the discussion was set back in 2010
when a Grand Jury was convened to explore the issue. Its findings were
summarized in a report titled, “Leaf Blower Hazards in San Luis Obispo
County,” and it is not full of good news.
After extensively researching the issue, the Grand Jury cited four primary
hazards: 1) Typical two-stroke gasoline-powered leaf blowers running for
one hour emit pollution equal to one car driven for 200 miles in a confined
38 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
area; 2) Approximately five pounds of particulate
matter (PM) per leaf blower per hour are blown
into the air and can take hours or days to settle;
3) Gas-powered leaf blowers can generate a
decibel level that can cause permanent hearing
loss to the operator and an annoyance to anyone
nearby; 4) Young children and homebound
seniors are most vulnerable to the localized air
and noise pollution of leaf blowers.
The modern day leaf blower has not evolved
all that much since it was invented as a crop
duster in Japan during the early 1970’s. And it
was during the mid-1970’s when Californians
began repurposing them as an effective, watersaving
alternative to hosing down driveways and
sidewalks during a drought period. After observing the amazing cleanliness
of their front yards, it was not long before neighbor after neighbor fell
in line, often purchasing the plug-in electric version that was available in
hardware stores at the time. Commercial landscapers began embracing the
leaf blower after a more powerful and more mobile gas-powered version
During their early days, the electric-powered homeowner versions were
mostly tolerated. The problems that did arise were often of the very local
variety, as in, “My neighbor keeps blowing all of his dust and leaves into
my yard!” Rarely, did municipalities have much of a debate about leaf
blowers because no one really had a problem with them—besides they
made the whole town look like Main Street at Disneyland. All was fine and
good, until the gas-powered variety began to explode in popularity.
Back in the 1980’s, it was much more common to pay the neighborhood
kid to mow your lawn and push a broom to clean up the mess afterward
than it was to hire a professional. But, as commercial landscapers became
more efficient, in large part because of the gas-powered leaf blower, service
rates began to drop and it became a viable option for homeowners. “Mow
and blow” operations are now a quintessential element of suburban living
in America. And, for cities such as San Luis Obispo, where there is a high
incidence of single-family dwellings that are income rental properties,
twice-monthly yard maintenance service is customarily included as a matter
of standard practice. It seems as if the popular radio song from the eighties,
“Nobody Walks in LA,” could be re-released today with the title, “Nobody
Mows their Own Lawn.”
And, it is the commercial two-stroke gas-powered leaf blower that has
fallen into the crosshairs of the Grand Jury report. Two-stroke, or twocycle
engines, are different than the four-stoke engine in your car in several
important ways. Without going into too much detail, the two-stroke variety
fires on every revolution, giving it a much better power to weight ratio,
which is why you see two-stroke motors in places where being lightweight
is also important: ATV’s, mopeds, jet skis, lawn mowers, and, of course, leaf
blowers. The main disadvantage of the two-stroke motor is that they are
highly polluting —it is not as effective at converting all the fuel to energy
as its four-stroke cousin before emitting the remnants from the cylinder as
exhaust. And, two-strokes are much louder and create a distinctive highdecibel
Although there are four-stoke leaf blowers on the market, most of those
still in use are of the two-stroke variety. It is clear that manufacturers
are on the four-stroke bandwagon, mostly for reasons of fuel-efficiency,
and it will probably just become a matter of time before they are the
standard. But, there is still the matter of noise. A typical two-stroke leaf
blower averages a decibel level of approximately 70-75dB from 50 feet
away; a typical four-stroke measures in at 65dB. Under current San Luis
Obispo County law, noise from leaf blowers is not to exceed 70dB. And,
the City of San Luis Obispo takes it a step further by prohibiting their
use on Sundays. Currently, neither the City nor the County actively
enforces the noise ordinance.
So, why not just go back to the old electric models? Or, switch to the newer
battery operated units? The bottom line is that they are just not powerful
enough for commercial use. For example, a top-of-the-line leaf blower can
generate blasts up to 280mph, which compares to a Category 5 hurricane at
160mph. Plus, electric blowers limit mobility and length of use. Regardless
of power or portability, the elephant in the room still remains: artificially
blowing dust into the air is not doing any of us any good, if for no other
reason than the increase in the number of allergens floating around. But, it
goes much deeper than that, as much of the PM composition of the dust
blasted into the ether is of the fine particulate variety, 10 micrometers or
less—that kind of stuff does not normally exist in nature and, therefore,
makes its way past the body’s defenses and goes directly into the lungs
causing an entire host of both short and long-term health issues.
Does that mean it’s time to ban leaf blowers altogether and go back to
hiring the neighborhood kid? Maybe. More than 300 cities nationwide
have restricted or outright banned leaf blowers, including 100 in California.
And many have developed smart policy around their use. Carmel, another
popular tourist-destination-by-the-sea, became the first municipality in
the nation to institute a wholesale ban on all leaf blowers, gas or electric.
And, to the south, voters in Santa Barbara opted to ban leaf blowers (they
still do allow electric leaf blowers, but they cannot be used within 250 feet
of a residential zone). Even further south, Los Angeles, the city where
nobody walks is also the city, since 1998, where nobody uses a leaf blower.
A close look at the City of Claremont, which implemented a complete ban
of all leaf blowers in 1990, reveals that the transition was not as difficult as
expected. It was calculated that its maintenance workload on city properties
increased by just 6% with the use of rakes and brooms instead of leaf
blowers. Other cities have reported similar results and, although many of
their local landscapers have had to raise their service rates as a result, no
municipality has reversed their bans.
It would seem then that San Luis Obispo County, a place that hosts
millions of tourists each year would be prime to implement a ban on leaf
blowers. Yet, since the Grand Jury report in 2010, not much has changed.
And, what about the county seat, the City of San Luis Obispo—the city
that was the first in the nation to tackle smoking in public, prohibit fast
food drive-thrus, focus on “neighborhood wellness,” and take pride in all
manner of its open space and environmentally-friendly initiatives—will it
continue to allow leaf blowers to exist within the city limits? As always, it
comes down to a combination of political will and timing, which makes
the current special election to fill the City Council seat vacated by Andrew
Carter that much more intriguing [find out how the candidates would vote
on this issue and more by turning to the Voters’ Guide on page 40].
To be sure, the timing has changed. Particularly in a year such as this where
rain has been so scarce. The make up of matter blown into the air is more
dust than leaves. And, with less rain to clean out the air above us, smoggy
skies have become much more apparent. Allergy sufferers, who are legion in
this area, report that leaf blowers do not help matters. Or, maybe people are
just tired of seeing their neighbor’s gardener blowing leaves into their yard
only to have their gardener blow them back a couple of days later. Perhaps
we have a lot more knowledge now and better understand the damage
we are doing to our environment and ourselves. Perhaps Central Coast
residents have finally had enough of the many backpack-style engines
competing to see who can make the most noise and want to restore
peace and quiet. Or, maybe they just want to see the neighborhood kid
push a broom again. SLO LIFE
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 39
| VOTERS’ GUIDE
SLO choosing a new City
Council member, it is time to
get to know the candidates...
Why are you running
for City Council?
I was asked to run by resigning
Councilman Andrew Carter, former
Mayor Dave Romero and other
community leaders. We need a broad
spectrum of voices on council to
maintain balance and common sense
I am running for city council
because I love San Luis Obispo
and I believe in giving back to my
community. I will work to protect
our beautiful environment while
promoting economic vitality.
My goal is to make a difference. I
still just be one vote on the council,
but I would bring some heart and
soul into the corporation of our city
that has been demonstrating a lack.
Big money and special interests are
way too represented now.
In your view, what
is the biggest issue
facing SLO today?
Keeping SLO economically vibrant,
while retaining the charm we
are celebrated for. Through good
planning, we can provide for necessary
workforce housing and commercial
uses without spreading out to the
LOVR and Edna Valley corridors.
Housing and fiscal stability are
ongoing issues, but SLO is updating
its Land Use and Circulation
Element (LUCE). What the
City decides now will affect
neighborhoods and traffic patterns
for decades to come.
International corporate criminal organizations
that own our high governments and have
their seditious treasonous agents installed
in key places within our governments
have for their agenda, as in Agenda 21 of
the United Nations, been in the process
for years of handing our country over to be
incorporated into the New World Order.
What is your position
on the proposed
homeless shelter on
Would you support a
ban on leaf blowers?
Who or what has had
the biggest influence
on your life?
What do you like to
do for fun?
40 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
The site is too small to adequately
accommodate a 200 bed shelter
and will negatively impact the
surounding neighborhoods. We need
to mitigate these issues and secure
more funding before moving the
proposed shelter forward.
No, this would be challenging to
enforce. In areas of town this is
a great concern, in others, not as
much. I’d rather see home owners
associations and neighborhood
groups build consensus on the issue.
Who—My parents, Bill and Marie
Brown. What—Working as a military
instructor for the Grizzly Youth
Academy on Camp SLO. I still
maintain contact with many of the
cadets I worked with and mentored.
I like working in my yard. I also
enjoy hiking. There are many great
trails around the area and I think the
views of SLO are amazing, especially
when the sky becomes crimson
I support replacing the crumbling
shelter. If built on South Higuera, I
would like to see the project altered
to address the concerns of the
business park owners, and measures
regarding transients put into place.
I would look into the pros and
cons before instituting a ban.
Leaf blowers are noisy and cause
pollution, but alternatives like using
water are not good either. I’d check
other cities for ideas.
My two children. I’ve learned
about love, patience, humility,
generosity, and kindness. Also
about being a grown-up! I
still learn from my now-adult
children—they give me something
new to think about all the time.
Spending time with my kids and
my friends, hiking, walking, movies,
day trips, arts and performances,
conversations over coffee or wine,
eating out, cooking in, biking to work.
I like to enjoy other people’s gardens!
The homeless need help from their
hostile government caretaking
plans. Building a FEMA barracks to
house 200 is not a healthy thing to
do. Putting so many people with all
the various illnesses common to the
disadvantaged of our society is not safe
and a larger facility would be worse.
Leaf blowers are an annoyance
brought on by a culture that demands
instant everything. Sweeping and
vacuuming do not kick up so much
dust into the air the people have to
breathe. Secondary to that the noise
is a problem.
The Planning Commission and then
the City Council that “retaliated”
for my participation in the meetings
with that first mixed-use project to
come before them by orchestrating
the demise of my life and business.
Riding my WWII vintage industrial
mobility device that has become well
known as Don Quixote’s trusty steed
Rosinante. There is nothing like the
wind in your face cruising along in
the quiet of electric transportation.
A PROGRAM OF:
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 41
42 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
PHOTOGRAPH BY RICHARD FUSILLO
left to right
It has been said that you have to spend years roaming around playing dive bars to become an
overnight success. And for Pismo Beach-based punk band Heart to Heart, you can add garages, hair
salons, basements, and churches to that list of venues. For the band, which formed in 2009 when its
members graduated from area high schools, overnight success now seems within reach.
After three West Coast tours, two Midwest tours, and two National tours, the band, having recently
spent 34 days on the road, found themselves playing at a club called Sneaky Dee’s in Toronto. To
their surprise, about half the people at the show were singing their songs. Nick Zoppo, the band’s
frontman, shares, “I remember looking over at the guys and saying, ‘Whoa, this is crazy.’ You see
people in the crowd climbing on each other and singing our songs. I mean, we’re still a long way
from the top but we’re hungry and it’s cool to see it starting to grow.” Justin Bratcher, who plays
bass, chimes in, “You can’t really put that into words, it was just so rewarding.”
The band, which just released a new album in October recently signed on with Pure Noise Records
based in the Bay Area. And after spending years setting up their own gigs, they also now have a
management team which includes a booking agent. Between tours they have been recording new
tracks in a Hollywood-based studio where they work with Kyle Black, a big name in the punk rock
scene who seems to have the Midas touch when choosing clients. The band reports that Black has
been pushing them hard to reach the next level.
Heart to Heart’s music, which could be compared to bands such as Senses Fail, or Crime in Stereo,
or even old Green Day, is about high-energy-give-it-everything-you’ve-got old school punk rock.
The band refers to their fans as friends and shares that their name, Heart to Heart, was a nod to the
personal connection they hope to make with others when playing. And, to be sure, many of their
songs are deeply personal in nature. They typically finish shows with their song titled “40/40/20”
which is about a friend of theirs who had lost her husband to the war in Afghanistan only to learn
that she had stomach cancer. She then had to make a terrifying choice: the only operation available
had a 40% chance of success; 40% chance of failure; and a 20% chance of death. The chorus goes
like this: in the middle of an earthquake / a massive headache / an important decision to make / you just
can’t turn and walk away / in the middle of an earthquake / a massive headache / I’m left to sit here as the
ground shakes / I wish I could take your pain away.
Zoppo, who shares the story with the crowd before singing the song, offers that it gives people hope
and encourages them to never give up, no matter how hard things get. And, he is happy to report
that the woman who the song was written about, as of a few months ago, is now cancer-free. Zoppo
reflects that the connection they make with people through their music is the most rewarding part
of what they do. “It’s really cool because we are just normal dudes who have written what we have
been through. It’s just a way for us to release the pain we’ve kept bottled up inside and try to help
other people out.”
The band members tout the therapeutic properties of their music, and they describe their desire
to bring a huge amount of energy and intensity to their shows, making it something the crowd
will never forget. But at the end of the day, the guys are unexpectedly low-key and reveal how
proud they are to tell people about their home on California’s Central Coast, often claiming
that they are “just beach boys.” And, as they spend a month at a time shuttling themselves
around from gig to gig they talk about the friends they’ve made while listening to a wide range
of music in their van including country western and 1980’s R&B. And through it all, it’s those
connections, the friendships, and the inspiration that makes Heart to Heart much more than
just an overnight success. SLO LIFE
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 43
how the SLO HotHouse
is hatching new start-ups
44 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
An interesting experiment is taking place at 955 Morro Street in Downtown San Luis
Obispo. Through a coalition of public and private entities, young entrepreneurs now
have a place to make their dreams a reality.
What began as a summer program through Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (CIE) is now a full time business “incubator” housed in a 6,000 square
foot office space previously occupied by the City’s Public Works Department. For those
unfamiliar with the concept, a business incubator is designed to hatch new start-up
concepts, essentially going from the egg (idea) to baby chick (early stage start-up). The
idea is that young businesses get the support they need to reach the next level.
Incubators first hit the scene in the 1980’s as local governments made creative use of empty
commercial real estate, often to spur economic development in depressed urban areas. But
as they appear in their current form, they are a product of the dot com boom during the late
1990’s. In downtown San Francisco, landlords holding onto empty SOMA (South of Market)
office and warehouse space realized that there was enormous rental demand from fledgling dot
com companies who were short on cash. So instead of receiving payment for rent, the landlord
would take equity in the business (typically around 6-8%) and provide some basic amenities
usually consisting of phone and high-speed internet access, along with the usual stuff: lights,
coffee makers, and water coolers. If one or two of the businesses hit pay dirt, it meant big money
for the landlord. And if they didn’t, who cares? The space wasn’t renting out anyway. It’s what is
called a “low-risk, high-reward” business model, and incubators soon began popping up all over
the Bay Area and beyond.
In time, the incubators evolved and became more involved in coaching and educating the
start-ups. This type of operation is often called an “accelerator,” and most incubators today
are also classified as accelerators. Some incubators have become big business—Y Combinator,
which is located in Mountain View, is probably the most famous of the bunch (its brightest
star to-date is dropbox.com, an online data storage site). And the most successful operations
began offering classes, start-up competitions, and access to venture capital funding. Often,
the incubators formed close relationships with local universities (for example, Y Combinator
and nearby Stanford enjoy a close kinship and often share resources). Today, incubators are a
booming businesses often specializing in very narrow market segments, but more cities and
public entities such as universities have gotten into the game.
Cal Poly, with its “learn by doing” philosophy seems like the perfect place to launch an incubator.
And, in the summer of 2011 in conjunction with Madonna Enterprises who provided the
commercial real estate initially, a 12-week accelerator program was offered. Along with three
months of intense classroom submersion, students received $7,500 in seed money each to fund
their business ideas. The grant came with no strings attached, as no equity was given to the donors
who were mostly local business owners and Cal Poly alumni. The hope, of course, is that one of the
companies goes on to become the next MindBody and creates many new head-of-household jobs
in the community; Cal Poly then gets donations from newly well-heeled graduates of the program,
and everyone is happy.
Incubators are generally widely heralded by both the public and private sectors, yet criticism of
the concept does exit. Aside from producing difficult-to-measure rates of success, they tend to
put the focus on the short-term, where the goal is for the entrepreneur to “cash-out” typically
via acquisition by a larger company as was the case for Cal Poly start-up, Punchd, a mobile app
which digitizes loyalty punch cards. Created by Niket Desai, Reed Morse, and Xander Pollock
in an upper division course for Android software development, it sold in July 2011, while still a
fledgling start-up with just a handful of customers to Google, reportedly for $10 million. For a
student sitting in their dorm room eating Ramen noodles, a multi-million dollar payout upon
graduation looks pretty sweet, indeed. The question becomes, are we teaching our kids the right
lessons about business? Or, are we creating a new generation with get-rich-quick expectations?
With their focus on speed (hence the name “accelerator”) critics point out that the incubator
concept creates a culture that dictates a “pivot” toward greener pastures if things do not appear
to be working out quickly, which is often counter to real-world business building, where
entrepreneurs commonly run into the same brick wall many times before finally busting
through. Patience and stick-to-itiveness, it seems, can potentially be undervalued in the
incubator environment in favor of “exit strategy.” It is interesting to contrast this alternative
point of view with another Cal Poly business success story—decidedly low-tech, Meathead
Movers. Had the co-founding brothers, Aaron and Evan Steed, gone through the Summer
Accelerator program at the HotHouse it is conceivable that they would not have taken the long,
tedious journey of building their business as they have. Perhaps they would have opted to design
a mobile app for other movers instead. Not to say that one is better than the other, but it is at
least worth stopping to ponder for a moment. Perhaps, as the incubator concept evolves, best
practices from both approaches can be incorporated.
The Steed Brothers, as well as other members of the local business community, are welcome
to drop by and apply for office space in the HotHouse. Current rents are $150 per month
for the first person and $75 per month for each additional person in the company. The space
is currently home to five Cal Poly start-up companies: RepairTech (creators of software
that allows for remote computer repairs and maintenance); FireSwing Studios (developers
of entertainment for mobile devices); Favor (an online food and drink delivery service);
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 45
Foosball tables, popular with Silicon Valley
start-ups, facilitates relationship building
Participants in an improptu “meet-up” share
project ideas and strategies
A lone entrepreneur prepares for a meeting
in one of the conference rooms
InPress Technologies (a medical device company with a product that prevents post-partum
hemorrhaging); and Steadfast Innovation (makers of a mobile app called Papyrus that
facilitates better digital hand-written note taking).
After hearing so much glowing praise from business and community members about the SLO
HotHouse, we decided to drop by one afternoon, unannounced. The interior of the building has
a decidedly urban vibe, as the brick walls provide a visually interesting contrast to the exposed
beams and sheet metal ducts. The space feels somewhat like a combination between a coffee shop
and a corporate customer service center, complete with the requisite cubicles. Upon entering
we were quickly greeted by the two resident staffers, as well as a business consultant, who was
serving as a volunteer. Their enthusiasm for the HotHouse and its occupants was palpable and
a thorough recap of each team (start-up companies are called “teams” and community members
who rent space are called “coworkers”) showed some promising results. In fact, later that day, it
was announced that Grappple, a 2012 graduate of the accelerator program, was being acquired by
Mountain View-based Whodini Inc. for an undisclosed sum.
We continued to kick the tires for a while and asked if it would be okay to just wander around.
Our path through the foosball tables led us to Ian Alexander, who was busy drafting an email in
his cube. We learned that Alexander grew up in Berkeley, was a recent Cal Poly grad, and was the
leader of team RepairTech. We asked Alexander about his experience so far with the HotHouse;
he pondered for a moment and responded by saying, “I like to think that we would have made it
without their help, but it seems unlikely.” The company, which is not yet profitable, provides cloudbased
diagnostic software to computer repair technicians who pay a monthly fee. With a recent
line of credit from a private investor, RepairTech has been able to secure 65 paying accounts and is
looking forward to a not-so-far-off time when they all draw salaries and have full-time work. So
far, Alexander is the only full-time, non-student team member at RepairTech.
With an estimated operating budget reported to be around $300,000 annually, the HotHouse is
required to raise funds beyond what it receives from its revenues, which includes rent from tenants,
local donations, and grants. The operation, with the exception of a small bit of funding from the
SBA’s Small Business Development Center, which is housed in the facility, is self-funded. For the
purpose of raising funds, an innovative campaign was recently launched on indiegogo.com, which is
a crowdfunding website where many donors can come together to make pledges as little as $10 to
help build a virtual city, which is aptly named “Innovation City.” Local creative agency, iii Design, has
posted a video on the site that explains that the HotHouse is seeking to raise $70,000 by June 9th,
when their campaign expires (as of this writing they were at $11,050).
The funds will also support the 2013 Summer Accelerator program, which, after a highly
competitive application process, seven teams have been accepted including: VegThisWay (makers
of a dehydrated vegetable strip healthy snack); SeatWizz (online ticket sellers); PreLimb (software
creators for landscape architects to visualize plant growth over time); Spongecrete (developers
of a lightweight, insulating concrete composed of cellulose and cement); Before and After
Maids (in development of an event clean-up service); Z Living Systems (installers of vertical
indoor gardens); and HomeSlice (makers of mobile phone apps for college students and young
professionals). As with the previous classes, each of the individual businesses will receive $7,500
grants and assistance from various local mentors. After the twelve-week course ends, the teams
will then have the option of continuing their projects into the fall and beyond at the HotHouse.
So far, in its short history, the HotHouse’s results have been solid, and it does appear to be
universally loved by the students and tenants found there. A couple of the projects have turned
into legitimate revenue generating operations, such as RepairTech. Others never became more
than overly caffeinated chicken scratches on one of the massive note-filled white boards. But,
as is the mantra with venture capital investing: fund 20 early-stage companies that appear to
have a chance of making it big and 19 will not amount to much; but the one that does make it,
usually makes it huge, often generating returns in the multiples of hundreds of times the original
investment, or more. The problem is that, beyond an educated guess, it is nearly impossible to tell
which ones the winners will be. And, as is the case with the HotHouse, it really doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that students are learning how to be successful in today’s marketplace in a
safe and nurturing environment. It’s putting Cal Poly’s “learn by doing” on steroids and making
the ultimate beneficiary not the venture capitalists, but the students themselves and, perhaps, the
community as a whole.
At the very least, it seems, the HotHouse is a prime example of the tangible results that
materialize when Cal Poly and the community join forces to turn a concept into reality. Perhaps
the most successful venture to come from the HotHouse so far is the HotHouse itself. Although
it remains to be seen what the long-term impact will be for the students; for now, it is encouraging
to see the results that come about when we all, um, incubate, together. SLO LIFE
46 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
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to step up your
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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 47
| ON THE RISE
Stats: Robbie is a 16-year-old junior at San Luis Obispo High School.
Sports: You can find him mountain biking Shooters or rock climbing at SLO Op.
Clubs: Robbie felt like something was missing, so he re-started the Bike Club on campus.
Interests: Never idle, Robbie spends his free time playing the guitar, piano and singing.
Noteworthy: Music and creativity reign supreme for Robbie and he proved it by composing
the incidental and accompaniment for the school play.
Inspiration: Every mom would want to hear what Robbie has to say, “My mother is the
largest influence in my life. She’s always supported me, and I’ve always been able to look
up to her and how strong she has been through some of the hardest times in life.”
Historical figure he’d like to meet: Robbie fell in love with the music of Ray
Charles the first time he heard it. Since then, Charles has been one of the greatest
influences in his music and definitely tops the list of who Robbie wishes
he could meet, if only he had a time machine.
College aspirations: An AA degree from Cuesta College is
first in order for Robbie, followed by a transfer to Berklee
College of Music. That said, he wouldn’t pass up the chance
to go on tour, or work for a major record label, and plans to
keep his options open.
Future prediction: In ten years, Robbie sees himself either
on tour as a headlining musician, or working as a music
producer inside a studio.
His fondest memory: Making the planter boxes
on his driveway with his mom and dad for
Pacheco Elementary School. SLO LIFE
48 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly Know 2013a student on the rise? Tell us about them at slolifemagazine.com
That’s right, the rumors are true!
Dr. Daniel’s orthodontic practice has relocated
just around the corner from SLO High School at
1356 Marsh Street.
Although it’s a new address, they are still providing
the same excellent care as they have for years.
Specializing in Smiles
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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 49
left to right WEB MASTERS Forrest Hatfield,
Mike Wiemholt, and Ben VanHoy
Since SLO LIFE Magazine was turning three years old, we
decided to celebrate by getting ourselves a shiny, new website.
We had stuck with the same site from the beginning and,
after a few years of studying the analytics and understanding
how visitors were using slolifemagazine.com, we felt wellinformed
and able to make some smart changes. We learned quite a lot along
the way and figured that you and your business may benefit a bit from our
experience with the process.
The whole thing started with a visit to our website developer, San Luis
Obispo-based ITECH Solutions. Stepping into their offices, as we do
from time-to-time, is oddly calming as you would think that their staff
of ten would be frantically putting out digital fires in a constant state of
panic. But, they’re not, and not much more than whirling computer fans
and a symphony of mouse clicks can be detected in their space on El
Capitan Way. It looks like a highly professional call center with rows of
cubicles, except no one is on the phone. Most of them, it turns out, are
either developing websites or remotely monitoring client networks.
50 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
We filed into the conference room with notepads
full of ideas and requirements for our next website
when Forrest Hatfield, ITECH’s co-founder,
settled in to his chair to talk things over. This was
to be the beginning of the process, an hour-long
initial consultation. Hatfield began by asking us
what we liked and disliked about our site. While
there was nothing entirely wrong with our website,
the problem was that we felt that our magazine
just didn’t look right online. Up to this point,
we had been doing what most other publishers
do: create an HTML version of their magazine, which is separate text
and photos mainly so that the text is searchable. The benefit of doing it
this way is that it encourages “organic search marketing.” For example, if
someone goes to Google and searches “Rick Stollmeyer,” the chances are
good that our “Meet Your Neighbor” article would pop up high on the
results and lead the reader back to our site.
When ITECH Solutions built our first website, they installed a bit
of software code called Google Analytics. The program allows us to
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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 51
log on to find out all types of interesting information about visitors
to our site. It tells us how many people visited and from where,
whether they were unique visitors or stopped by multiple times. It
even shows us what pages they were looking at and how long they
stayed. Pretty cool stuff. With Analytics, a free program, we were
able to determine that our subscription page was not converting as
many leads as it should have been doing. In other words, it appears
that people who were interested in buying a subscription would go
in, enter their information, get confused or
frustrated, and either leave the site or call us
on the phone to place their order. Since we
are interested in continuing to expand our
circulation, we wanted to make it much easier
for visitors to buy a subscription on the site and
we told Hatfield and his team that improved
functionality in this area should be central to
When you talk to Hatfield, it is almost as if he
is taking your words and breaking them up into
little binary bits and bytes, “1’s” and “0’s,” for faster
processing. More than just listening, which he
seems to do without moving a muscle with eyes
wide open, it appears that he is downloading
information, and doing it very quickly. Hatfield
and his partner, Brian Weiss, co-founded ITECH
z web development and Weiss handles IT for the company. The pair,
who met at now-defunct Computer Stuff became fast friends and wasted
no time in finding a business they could do together. They looked at
developing software, but in the end they felt they had the most to
offer to companies that were too small to hire their own in-house IT
guy or have the funds to hire a big name agency to develop a website.
Plus, as Hatfield points out, “When you have one company manage
everything there is no finger pointing when things go wrong. We have
responsibility for everything, which also makes it better because we
know how it all fits together.”
Hatfield loads our current website onto a massive big-screen-TVturned-computer-monitor
in the ITECH conference room and
patiently hears us out and then makes a request. “Okay, what is it that
you want to accomplish with the redesign?” Without hesitation we tell
Hatfield and his team that, first and foremost, we are looking to be
more user-friendly and take care of visitors in one visit so they do not
have to take another step by placing a phone call or sending an email.
“Job one,” we tell them, “is the e-commerce aspect of the site—we have
to make it easier for people to buy a subscription online.” In addition
to wasting a lot of time for everyone involved, mostly, we wanted our
subscribers to have a great experience on our site. The room falls silent
for a minute as Hatfield meticulously sketches on a sheet of blank
office paper. He then spins the drawing around and says, “Here is what
I think we ought to do. Mobile is huge right now and getting bigger,
52 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
“Mobile is huge
right now and
and this is how
you can make
and this is how you can make an impact.”
Hatfield then breaks it down for us. “If you look back to 2010, for
example, most of our clients were seeing visits to their websites from
mobile devices at about 2% to 3%.” In other words, two or three
visits out of 100 to the websites ITECH managed were coming
from people who were doing so from their smart phones or tablets.
“Today,” Hatfield continues, “depending on the site, it’s as much as
30%.” It was imperative that, whatever we did, the
website was conducive to mobile devices. He then
shares another trend that ITECH had identified:
Google AdWords were becoming more expensive
while also becoming less effective and they are
witnessing first-hand that many of their clients are
returning to traditional media. After sharing the
latest trends and strategies in website marketing,
Hatfield then goes on to explain the differences
between responsive and reactive design and how
both, in different ways, would make browsing
our site on a smart phone fast, efficient, and
much more intuitive for future subscribers. He
explained further that a new open source platform
made by Twitter called Bootstrap would be an
ideal candidate to serve as the backbone for the
redesign. “Sounds good,” we say. “Happy birthday
to us—let’s do it!”
Since we are also in the business of visual communications, it has
always been interesting to follow trends in website design and GUI
(graphical user interface) presentation. The late 1990’s brought about
the ascendency of “Web 2.0,” which was the movement away from the
busy, information-packed, mostly read-only websites to a presentation
that was much cleaner and user-focused and, most importantly, included
a host of interactive features. Social media was borne out of Web 2.0
and the principles of the design revolution endure today. After Hatfield
encouraged us to spend time surfing the web to get design ideas, we then
chose our favorites and a sent the links to ITECH along with notes
about what we liked about each site.
A couple of weeks later we reconvened in the ITECH conference room.
The lights were turned off at the same time the big monitor came to
life. On the screen was our new home page looking back at us. Instantly,
we knew that they nailed it. The presentation was clean, professional,
yet unassuming just as we had asked. And, there was a big red button
on the upper right-hand corner that simply said, “Subscribe.” As they
navigated through the site, which was not yet live, it became apparent
to us how much we had learned over the last three years about how our
visitors experienced slolifemagazine.com. And, together with our friends
at ITECH, we felt confident that the birthday present we had given
ourselves was also for everyone who would stop by our little corner of
the world wide web. SLO LIFE
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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 53
BY PADEN HUGHES
Beware of the
it comes to
It’s hard to make plans for the evening in
downtown San Luis Obispo without factoring
in food. Even with so many options —ranging
from Greek/Mexican blends to gourmet
burgers, from sushi to tasty California
cuisine—as a local, it is easy to find that you
have memorized all the menus and have settled
into your favorite restaurants and dishes.
When it comes to my marriage and the
Thursday date night my husband and I
religiously practice, I’m always trying to
follow a bit of advice that was shared with
54 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
me not so long ago, “Keep your relationship
fresh and exciting. Beware of the mundane
and routine when it comes to romance.” In
the spirit of doing things differently, we’ve
recently adopted a new twist for our night on
Have you ever been to a progressive dinner
party? It is a party with several hosts, each
one serving a course in their home, where the
guests progress from house to house—hence,
the name. Essentially it is a potluck dinner, but
instead of the food traveling to one location,
the guests travel to the location of the food.
It is a great way to mix things up and make
dinner more interesting.
Inspired by the progressive dinner party, I
applied it to our Thursday date night. Instead
of going back and forth with what type of food
we were in the mood for, I had us each pick a
favorite restaurant and limit our order at each
venue to drinks and an appetizer. For less than
$100 our bellies were full and our restaurant
experience overflowing. SLO LIFE
At Novo we shared our favorite Thai
green curry entrée ($18) and enjoyed a
glass of wine.
European wine and an artisan
cheese plate (price varies)
delighted us at Granada Bistro.
We indulged in the amazing brussel sprout
appetizer ($9 - $22) and a pint from Sidecar’s
wide selection of beers ($5 - $8).
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 55
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56 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
Lay out your clothes the
night before your morning
routine to help you rise and
shine with success. If you
hit the gym after work, pack
your bag and have it with
you, so you can stop off and
get fit before you get home.
Landing at the homestead
pre-gym is a motivation
killer—you’re more likely to
slip on your PJs than your
If going to the gym is starting to feel a little
too routine, switch it up. The last thing you
want to do is dread your workouts. Get
some fresh air with a run, walk or bike ride.
find a partner
It’s easier to keep a workout routine going
when you have the support of a friend. And
you’re more likely to keep the commitment
if you don’t want to disappoint your BFF.
ditch the scale
A better indicator of a successful exercise
routine is when your clothes fit properly, you
can lift heavier weights, and workout longer
without getting exhausted.
get to bed
A good night’s sleep will help
give you the energy you need
to keep up the routine and
help you to think more clearly.
Once you’re in the cycle of
hitting the gym sleep shouldn’t
be a problem; studies show
that people who exercise four
days a week report improved
sleep quality, longer sleep, and
taking less time to fall asleep.
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set a goal
Once you’ve decided where you
are headed it’s a lot easier to plot
the course of action to get there.
Set a specific, attainable goal like
training for a 5k or increasing
your number of push-ups.
Most people find that a workout
first thing in the morning fits a
busy schedule best. If the thought
of a 6am workout makes you
want to hit the snooze button, try
incorporating a walk into your
lunch routine or stop off at the
gym on your way home from work.
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Don’t rely on the water fountain at the gym,
bring your water bottle with you so you have
it on hand when you need to guzzle. And
watch out for the extra calories of sports
drinks. It’s best to stick with water unless you
are maxing yourself out with a high intensity
workout and need the extra electrolytes.
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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 57
| SLO LIFE KITCHEN
burgers and fries
Nothing says summer like grilling burgers. And, here at
SLO LIFE Magazine we’ve taken the liberty of revamping
the All-American classic with a tangy twist and paired it
with delicious baked sweet potato fries.
BLUE CHEESE BURGERS
Hamburgers? Yes. But basic fare? Definitely
not! These blue cheese burgers always get a
warm reception for their creamy and spicy
profile. Use a fine, piquant blue cheese that
will stand out; something creamy, but with
an almost nefarious amount of veining such
as Stilton, Valdeon, or Cabrales. The biggest
cloves of garlic you can find are a must, as is a
smashing Dijon or homemade mustard.
2 pounds organic grass-fed ground beef
2 tablespoons of Dijon or homemade mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, finely diced or processed
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese (about 1 cup)
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons water
fresh cracked pepper to taste
sea salt to taste
1. Combine all the ingredients together in a
bowl until well-mixed. Form eight balls of the
meat into patties about 1/2 to 1-inch thick and
allow to rest in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
While the meat rests, grease and heat the grill to
2. Grill the burgers about 5 minutes on each
side, or to taste. After the burgers are done
allow them to rest for about 1-2 minutes.
Serve on buns and garnish as desired.
Try these tasty burgers served on a roll
of your choice such as a Kaiser, brioche,
or sourdough along with arugula, sliced
tomato and purple onion. And, if you
like your burgers spicy, try hot buffalo
sauce for garnish.
58 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
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SWEET POTATO FRIES
While you can’t beat the flavor of a perfectly
crisp French fry, you certainly could live
without the grease-filled fryer they are cooked
in and the blood sugar spiking properties of
white starchy potatoes. We’ve made these
doubly healthy by baking, not frying them,
and by using insulin-friendly sweet potatoes.
2-3 sweet potatoes or yams, sliced to ¼ inch
thick fry shapes
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon parsley
fresh ground pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. In a small mixing bowl, add the melted
oil and spices. Wisk until combined.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add sliced sweet
potatoes and drizzle with spiced coconut
oil. Toss until potatoes are coated.
4. Evenly spread potatoes on cookie sheet
and bake 30-40 minutes, turning halfway
through cooking time.
Sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index
than other spuds, which helps soften their
impact on your blood sugar. And research
shows that their high carotenoid content may
be particularly useful in the blood sugar battle
when it comes to managing diabetes.
Have a recipe to share? Go to slolifemagazine.com to tell us about it.
San Luis Obispo | Avila | Los Osos
Five Cities | Nipomo
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 59
JulY 16 – 28, 2013
San LuiS ObiSpO • Ca
May 24 - July 31
Since 1946, Blue’s Baseball has been a tradition of San Luis Obispo. This family-friendly
setting offers plenty of games and activities for the kids, as well as a concession stand
and beer truck. Come out and enjoy the game! Hometown fireworks shows will begin
immediately following the games on July 3 and July 26.
Roll Out The Barrels
June 20 - 23
San Luis Obispo County
The weekend kicks off on Thursday with the annual
Barrels in the Mission Plaza event. Friday night
features exclusive winemaker dinners at participating
wineries and your weekend Passport to SLO Wine
Country will grant you entry into over 30 wineries on
both Saturday and Sunday.
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60 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
June 29 - July 22
SLO Little Theatre
Don’t miss the most popular musical revue in the
nation, Frank Sinatra! He’s the icon of cool—from
classic elegance to contemporary “fedora” hipster. Four
accomplished vocalists will take you from the 1940’s
Swing Era, to the bright lights of Las Vegas with the
Rat Pack in the 1960’s, and to his final performances in
the 1990’s. Sinatra’s voice is pop music history. Come
hear the songs that his voice made famous.
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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 61
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July 16 - 28
San Luis Obispo County
The 43rd season of Festival Mozaic features spectacular music in spectacular settings
throughout the Central Coast. The Festival is led by Music Director and virtuoso violinist,
Scott Yoo, and features players from the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Cleveland
Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Baltimore Symphony and a host of fine
orchestras from across the country.
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Join in on the fun at the 34th Annual SLO Triathlon.
This short course triathlon consists of a 0.5 mile swim, a
15 mile bike, and a 3.1 mile run. Participants will be sent
out on the course in waves throughout the day.
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62 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013
Central Coast Shakespeare Festival
July 12 - 28
River Oaks Hot Springs & Spa
The 2013 Central Coast Shakespeare Festival will
present what is now considered one of Shakespeare’s
greatest comedies—Love’s Labour’s Lost. Grab low
back chairs, blankets, family and friends, pack a picnic
and enjoy live theatre under the stars. Wine will be
provided by the Highway 46 East Wineries. Shows
start at 7:30 pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays,
and 6:00 pm on Sundays.
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for a good time
Our Publisher, Tom Franciskovich, has a long track
record of helping companies just like yours achieve
their marketing objectives. Call him, he’ll let you
know how we can help you. Plus, he’s a lot of fun.
SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 63
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San Luis Obispo, California 93401
64 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013