SLO LIFE Jun/Jly 2013
















Q A &







JUN/JLY 2013



mind, body, and spirit

SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 1

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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 3

Feels like home.

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What better place to welcome your newborn baby.

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June/July 2013





18 Q&A





















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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 9


Worth doing

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!

Tom Franciskovich

10 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013

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We want to

hear from you!

Have some comments or feedback

about something you’ve read here? Or,

do you have something on your mind

that you think everyone should know

about? Let us know! To have your letter

to the editor considered for publication

in the “In Box” section, please email it

to Be sure

to include your full name and city. And,

it’s best to keep it to 250 words or less.

Promote your


Our advertisers get great results and

we would like to tell you about it, but

first we want to know about you and

the objectives of your business. Call

us at (805) 543-8600 to talk with our

publisher, Tom, about different advertising

programs—we have something for every

sized budget. Or, you can log on to and we can

send you a complete media kit and loads

of testimonials from happy advertisers.

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

a recipe that your friends and family love?

Share it with us! To get an idea, check out

“Kitchen” on page 58. Is there a band we

should know about? Something we should

investigate? Go to

and click “Share Your Story.”


Ready to live the SLO Life all year

long? It’s quick and easy! Just log on to It’s just

$12.95 for the year. And don’t forget

to set your friends and family up with

a subscription, too. It’s the gift that

keeps on giving!






(805) 543-8600 • (805) 456-1677 fax


Tom Franciskovich


Sheryl Disher


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Paden Hughes


Chris Bersbach

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Submit your story ideas, events, recipes

and announcements by visiting us

online at

Contributions chosen for publication

may be edited for clarity and space



If you would like to advertise, please

contact Tom Franciskovich by phone

at (805) 543-8600 or by email at


The opinions expressed within these

pages do not necessarily reflect those

of SLO LIFE Magazine. No part of this

publication may be reproduced in whole

or in part without the expressed written

permission of the publisher.



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.

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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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coconut oil


APR/MAY 2013

m a g a z i n e











challenge, triumph, and

speaking out

>> 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

Cal Poly

>> 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.




[ ]

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.





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 The

trails in question can be found on the site under

“Johnson Ranch – Irish Hills Connector Trail in

San Luis Obispo.”





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Please send your comments to

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Letters may be edited for content and clarity. To be considered for publication your letter must

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IN DOWNTOWN S.L.O. | T. 805.784.0967



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.

After ten

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

| Q&A

Deborah Cash

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

certain level.

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

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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 19




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

20 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013

SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 21



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…



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.

What next?

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

mall somewhere.

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

English Literature.

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,

right? [laughter]

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

Stollmeyer family…

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

world champs.

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


Sandercock House

and its



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.

Fine Dining

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

Lic. no. 887028

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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 29

Warm Quarters

The master bedroom features a dark

wood sleigh bed, which provides

contrast in the otherwise airy,

light-filled room.

Original Beauty

This Formosa tree in the courtyard is a simple,

yet treasured reminder of Taiwan for Shu-chen.

Breakfast Nook

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


by the numbers





cal poly








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.)

If you are involved in a dispute and you are seeking an objective

evaluation of the potential consequences to you, please contact

me. I am always available to the disputing parties to explain the

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There is no fee for both telephone and/or inital consultation; this

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participants in an informal setting.

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6018 Pebble Beach Way, San Luis Obispo 93401

cell (805) 801-9302 // office (805) 545.9000

website // email

SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 33


by the numbers














Arroyo Grande














Avila Beach







Cambria/San Simeon





















Grover Beach







Los Osos







Morro Bay
























Risk Management | Estate Planning

Accumulation | Taxation | Business

Planning | Retirement Planning

Pismo Beach

Paso (Inside City Limits)













Can you retire?

Give us a call for a

free review of your

Retirement Income Plan.

Paso (North 46 - East 101)

Paso (North 46 - West 101)

Paso (South 46 - East 101)



















David S. Nilsen

President & Chief Financial Advisor

San Luis Obispo







1301 Chorro Street, Suite A

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401


David Nilsen is a Registered Representative and Investment Advisor Representative with/and offers

securities and advisory services through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC,

a Registered Investment Advisor, Insurance Lic. #0B50436. Fixed Insurance products and services

offered by Obispo Wealth Management are separate and unrelated to Commonwealth.

34 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013

Santa Margarita









*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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Taking the road less traveled:

Hi Mountain Road


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San Luis Obispo


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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.


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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 37




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

was developed.

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


Candidate Forum


SLO choosing a new City

Council member, it is time to

get to know the candidates...

Paul Brown

Carlyn Christianson

Don Hedrick

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

decision making.

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

South Higuera?

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

before sunset.

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.




SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 41


42 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013



left to right

Johnathan Hayes

Taylor Stillwell

Nick Zoppo

Justin Bratcher

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, 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, 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

Are you willing

to step up your



install | stamp | seal | polish | repair | reseal | recolor

Look sharp,

live large,

smell good.

1230 Iris Street | San Luis Obispo | CA

805.543.6046 |

1129 A Garden St.

SLO 781-0722



3460 Broad Street . San Luis Obispo . 805 549 0100

SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 47


Robbie Kraemer

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

That’s right, the rumors are true!

Dr. Daniel’s orthodontic practice has relocated

just around the corner from SLO High School at

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Although it’s a new address, they are still providing

the same excellent care as they have for years.

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SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 49


WEB 3.0


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, 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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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

the redesign.

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

getting bigger,

and this is how

you can make

an impact.”

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 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






Keep your

relationship fresh

and exciting.

Beware of the


mundane and

routine when

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

the town.

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









get set for


The Best Workout Tips to Get you Beach Ready






755 Alphonso Street

[off Broad Street]

San Luis Obispo, Ca 93401


56 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013

be ready

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

running shoes.

head outside

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.

schedule it

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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stay hydrated

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


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.


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



Fresh Picked & Locally Grown

Pesticide Free Produce

Weekly or Bi-weekly Delivery

No Contract Required


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 to tell us about it.


San Luis Obispo | Avila | Los Osos

Five Cities | Nipomo


SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013 | 59



Summer Music


43rD SeaSon

JulY 16 – 28, 2013

San LuiS ObiSpO • Ca


Scott Yoo

MuSic Director

Blue’s Baseball

May 24 - July 31

Sinsheimer Stadium

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.








Lunch Buffet

Mon - Sat 11:30am - 3:00pm $8.99

Monday Dinner Buffet

5:00pm - 10:00pm $9.99

Sunday Brunch


2115 Broad Street, SlO

805.781.0766 |

60 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013

My Way

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


1027 B Marsh Street, San Luis Obispo

scanning • digital restoration • in-house printing

photo finishing • darkroom supplies • passport photos

805 543-4025 •

Festival Mozaic

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.

Business Portraits :: Product :: Headshots

Commercial :: Editorial


SLO Triathlon

July 28

Sinsheimer Park

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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Monday - Saturday 10am-6pm • Sunday 11am-4pm

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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

call 543-8600

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




“My success as an agent is the result of a single minded focus on the needs

of my clients. Ultimately, the success of a real estate company is defined

by the same principles. By creating HAVEN PROPERTIES, we can provide

experienced agents with the most advanced technology and marketing

tools available to give them the best opportunity to thrive as agents and

provide success for our clients.“

– Gavin Payne, Owner



1212 Marsh Street

San Luis Obispo, California 93401

office 805.592.2050

64 | SLO LIFE Magazine jun/jly 2013

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