As Santa Cruz County trudges towards another month of shelter-in-place mandates, many local businesses are working as hard as ever to stay open. While gas stations and groceries stores are clearly essential services, other business need community support, particularly those that are locally owned and operated. This includes pet supply stores, a multitude of food services and bike shops, where oftentimes bikes are the only mode of transportation for some customers.
1001 Soquel Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
A well-respected name in the local community, the Bicycle Trip had to temporarily close after the March 17 shelter in place order. However, the flagship Santa store has since reopened for curbside pickup and home delivery. Current hours are 10 am to 4 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday. Bike Santa Cruz County members can receive a discount off parts, accessories and clothing and information on additional discounts and sales are available online. Always known for providing competitive pricing for its quality service and retail bikes, the Bicycle Trip hopes to reopen its other location near the Trader Joe’s in Capitola with similar services and hours. The Bicycle Trip is locally owned and operated by Berri Michel, longtime store manager Aaron Jacobs and his wife Rachael.
Cilantro’s Parrilla y Cantina
1934 Main St.
Watsonville, CA 95076
Operating on Main Street for more than 20 years, Cilantros Parilla y Cantina is currently open for take out orders. The sister restaurant to the very popular El Palomar on Pacific Avenue, customers can message email@example.com to place an order. Cilantros offers menus for lunch, dinner and brunch and features authentic Mexican dishes like enchiladas, tacos and tortas. Owned and operated by the Espinosa family, Cilantros and El Palomar were recently named the Best Mexican Restaurant in Watsonville and Santa Cruz respectively, by the Good Times weekly newspaper.
585 Pacific Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Current eBikes is a full service shop not far from Depot Park, selling premium quality electric bikes but also servicing conventional bikes. Located in one of the newer local development complexes, the immaculate store has made some operational changes in observance of the current county mandates. This includes allowing no more than one or two customers andl curbside drop-off/pick up service. In addition to top flight service, the store carries a nice selection of high quality eBikes and accessories, also available for purchase online.
Earthwise Pet Supply
266-T Mount Hermon Road
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
Earthwise Pet Supply has had to make a number of adjustments due to the stay-at-home order. While normal business hours are still in place for essential supplies, the Self-Wash facility is temporarily closed and walk-in nail trims for dogs and cats have been temporarily halted. However, Earthwise Pet Supply Scotts Valley will continue to provide essential dog grooming services by appointment only. Opened in 2013, the Scotts Valley Earthwise Pet Supply franchise store is led by the sister and brother team of Santa Cruz County locals Zann and Brett Aeck.
8053 Soquel Dr. Ste. 23
Aptos, CA 95003
With two locations, Epicenter Cycling is offering curbside pick up and free local delivery service. Customers are welcome in both the Aptos and Mission Street stores although only one person or household/family are invited in. A full service shop, Epicenter Cycling carries a large inventory of e-bikes, city and mountain bikes, in addition to clothing, parts and accessories. Founded in 2009 by Santa Cruz locals Shawn Wilson and Kazia Pennino, the business takes its name from the epicenter of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in Nisene Marks Park, whose entrance is just steps away from the Aptos store.
4402 Scotts Valley Dr.
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
One of Scotts Valley’s most popular restaurants just reopened this week for take-out service. A mainstay on Scotts Valley Drive since 1980, Malone’s Grille current hours are 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and a menu is don its Facebook page and DoorDash. Orders can be placed by phone or through DoorDash, and draft beer, cocktails and frose are also available to go. Under ownership by Taylor Fontana since 2017, Malone’s Grille has a vastly improved look and revamped menu in comparison to its earlier days.
1501 41st. Ave., Ste. M
Capitola, CA 95010
Located in Kings Plaza near Cinelux Capitola Theatre and Palace Arts, Pet Emporium is the oldest, full service pet shop in Santa Cruz County. The small, family run store carries supplies for dogs, cats, birds, reptiles and small animals, in addition to live fresh water fish and small live animals like parakeets. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pet Emporium is also booking dog grooming sessions by certified groomers by appointment. Long time owner Warren King who still comes in daily, first established his business inside the Capitola Mall in 1976.
The Penny Ice Creamery
913 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
The Penny Creamery is one of the great success stories for small businesses in Santa Cruz County. But like many others, the popular ice cream shop has had to make adjustments in its hours of operation and services. Known as the only ice cream shop in Santa Cruz to make artisanal ice cream from scratch in house, the downtown store is open daily for walk up service from 1 p.m to 8 p.m. At this time, the nationally recognized ice cream shop is not accepting cash.
Penny Ice Creamery Pleasure Point
A second location on 41st Avenue in Pleasure Point is accepting online orders on weekends only from 1 p.m to 8 p.m. The Penny Ice Creamery was founded in 2010 by Zach Davis and acclaimed chef Kendra Baker, whose impressive resume includes work as the pastry chef for Bar Tartine in San Francisco, with David Kinch at Michelin-starred Manresa and Jim Denevan at Gabriella Café. Together they own two other local businesses – The Picnic Basket and Snap Taco.
25 E. Fifth St.
Watsonville, CA 95076
For many who grew up in Watsonville, Watsonville Cyclery was the store where they got their first bicycles. But nearly 14 years ago, Watsonville Cyclery was re-established as a different full-service bike shop but still performs quality bike repairs and sells affordable new bikes. Currently, owner Julian “Jules” Mandujano is only allowing one customer at a time in his store and only for essential items. A well-respected supporter of the local community, Jules Mandujano helped organize Watsonville Bike Party, a series of neighborhood rides in conjunction with Bike Santa Cruz County.
Wishbone Pet Company
1994 Freedom Blvd.
Freedom, CA 95019
Family owned and operated, Wishbone Pet Company is open for local deliveries and curbside pickups. Known for providing high quality products for dogs, cats, birds, fish and small pets, the store carries an extensive variety of leading brands like Primal and Zignature, known for offering grain free and limited ingredient pet foods. A second location opened by company owners Justin and Susanna Furlone can be found at the Almar Shopping Center on Mission Street in westside Santa Cruz.
About The Author:
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS Local websites, including CBS New York, CBS Los Angeles, CBS Chicago, CBS San Francisco and CBS Washington D.C.