Monterey Bay Area

All stories covering the Monterey Bay Area – like hotels, restaurants, businesses, attractions etc.

Monterey Bay Area Stories

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Below is an excerpt from a Monterey Bay  Area story:

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and one of the best ways to show your love is by sending flowers. While many Santa Cruz County florists were forced to temporarily close due to the shelter-in-place order, stores are slowly reopening to meet the expected demand from loyal customers.

It’s also important to celebrate mothers who deserve an extra special act or two of appreciation and kindness in this extraordinary year. Here is a look at 10 of the best flower shops in Santa Cruz County for Mother’s Day flowers.

Ace’s Flowers

7520 Soquel Dr.
Aptos, CA 95003
(831) 688-2237

A consistent mention as one of the area’s finest florists, Ace’s Flowers is reopening in time for Mother’s Day. No touch delivery and curbside pickup services began this week and orders can be placed online. At the time of the order, customers can also fill out an enclosure note for personal message to mom. Owner Amy Scott, whose mission statement is “Local, sustainable and organic” has more than 30 years of experience in floral design.

Flowers By Toshi

1201 Lincoln St.
Watsonville, CA 95076
(831) 722-2431

One of the oldest floral shops in Watsonville, Flowers by Toshi is open for phone and online orders for no contact delivery and pickup. Current hours are listed as 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. although there may be adjustments due to the current county order. At least 20 different flower arrangements are available for Mother’s Day orders, with prices starting at $34.99.  Named after the original owner, Flowers by Toshi has been locally owned and operated by Ryoko Kozuki since the 1980s.

Flower Outlet

219 Mount Hermon Road
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
(831) 438-7055

Flower Outlet is expected to reopen next week in anticipation of orders for Mother’s Day flowers. A family owned and operated business since 1999, Flower Outlet is asking customers to call or come to the store when making orders. Customers can also inquire about same day deliveries and the types of arrangements that will be available for Mother’s Day and beyond. Although their flower shop has been open since 1999, owners Steve and Hi-yun have been operating local businesses for nearly 30 years.

Seascape Flowers

5 Seascape Village
Aptos, CA
(831) 662-9030

Seascape Flowers is currently on an adjusted scheduled, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. However, beginning next week, the boutique floral shop will go back to normal working hours from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. However, customers will not be allowed inside the store but can browse several floral arrangements through the windows of the store. Customers can also order from a large selection of flowers, plants and more online, with prices starting at $30.

Stewart’s Floral

1658 Soquel Dr. Ste. A
Santa Cruz, CA 95065
(831) 479-0999

Located near Dominican Hospital, Stewart’s Florist will be re-opening next week in advance of Mother’s Day weekend. Although walk up visitors will be not be allowed to enter the store, owner Franklyn Lopes will be busy greeting customers outside for deliveries and curbside pickups. Adjusted hours for phone deliveries are currently Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m and online orders are also available.

Susi’s Flowers

25 Rancho Del Mar
Aptos, CA 95003
(831) 662-8820

Susi’s Flowers plans to only take a limited quantity of orders for Mother’s Day. Located in the revamped Rancho Del Mar Shopping Center. However, Susi’s Flowers does offer same day deliveries from Watsonville to Scotts Valley with fees starting at $10. Customers can make online orders on beautiful floral arrangements starting at $55. Founded in 1996 by longtime resident Susi Jackson, the charming boutique florist is now owned by her friend and hardworking former manager Katie Vidaurri.

Another excerpt from a Monterey Bay area story:

As Santa Cruz County and the rest of America enter yet another week of sheltering in place, small businesses need community support more than ever. Not only are family-owned restaurants suffering, but some established local businesses have completely shut down or relying heavily on internet sales. While grocery stores are thriving, these essential businesses have struggles too, as employees take painstaking precautions to protect its customers and themselves from the coronavirus.

Avanti Restaurant

1917 Mission St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 427-0135

Under new ownership but still on Mission Street, Avanti Restaurant is offering a to go menu. Orders are taken daily from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and customers can order appetizers, entrees or Family Style Dinners that can feed for people.

Wine List

The restaurant is also offering 25 percent off any selection from the impressive wine list, which includes several premium European selections and local selections from Alfaro Family Vineyards. Customers can call or email the restaurant to place an order. In the Westside Santa Cruz area for more than 30 years, Avanti Restaurant was acquired by Jonathan and Tatiana Glass last year.


2400 Porter St.
Soquel, CA 95073
(831) 476-6260

A local favorite since 1981, Carpo’s is currently handling orders to go and online orders. Updated hours are daily from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and orders to go may be purchased directly over the phone. A curbside service is also available. No daily specials are available but customers still have a wide selection of items to order.

Carpo’s Menu

A complete menu is available online, as well as through DoorDash and Doorbell Dining. The Carpo Burger and  house specialities like Terikyaki Chicken Kabob are among the popular dishes. But the affordable restaurant is also known for its outstanding seafood dishes and homemade pies. Carpo’s Family Restaurant continues to be family owned and operated by Todd family.

Deluxe Foods

783 Rio Del Mar Blvd.
Aptos, CA 95003
(831) 688-7442

Located in Deer Park Marketplace, Deluxe Foods has been a popular local grocery store for nearly 40 years. Owned by the Monte family, the store has had to modify its hours, with reduced hours for Peet’s Coffee, the bakery and deli. On Wednesdays, the store opens earlier at 7:30 a.m. to accommodate only older adults ages 65 and over. Deluxe is among the most popular grocery stores in Santa Cruz County.

Marc Monte

Currently the store is unable to provide a home delivery service or curbside assistance.  Marc Monte, the highly respected community leader who established the non-profit Monte Foundation in 1996, serves as the President and CEO of Deluxe Foods.

Ella’s At The Airport

100 Aviation Way
Watsonville, CA 95076
(831) 728-3282

Located at Watsonville Airport, Ella’s at the Airport is offering an abbreviated menu at this time. An increasingly popular restaurant from the “creators of Café Ella”, Ella’s is offering curbside pick daily from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. In addition to the abbreviated menu that features wood fried pizzas, pastas, entrees and more using fresh, sustainable ingredients, the restaurant is also offering its Family Style Menu for 6-8 people.


Orders can be called in. Many of the signature dishes are prepared by Ella herself -Tiffany Ella King. In 2007 Ella opened Café Ella on East Lake Avenue in Watsonville and in 2015, Ella’s at the Airport.

Update: Ella’s is in business at the Watsonville Airport. However, original owner Ella King is no longer with the restaurant.

Lenz Arts

142 River St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 423-1935

Serving the community since 1968, Lenz Arts is currently offering a curbside service for art supplies. Founded by award-winning artists Andy and Cynthia Lenz, customers can order supplies by emailing them with the subject line of “CURBSIDE” and a contact number to reach between the hours of 11 am to 3 p.m. Hours and dates of curbside service will be regularly updated on the Lenz Arts website.

Current Store Policy

At this time, no customers will be allowed inside the art supply store. Located at the same spot on River Street since 1972, Lenz Arts has an extensive collection of art supplies and is considered one of the last remaining art supply stores on the West Coast. The store has been managed by Andy and Cynthia’s son Andrew Jr. since 1989.