Chelsea Clinton Santa Cruz
March 2019

Every Day is Kid's Day for These Kids

By Chip, Downtown Association of Santa Cruz

Owning a business is a lot like being a parent; Sleepless nights at almost every stage of the process. Sure, there are plenty of books and lots of people will give you advice, but really, you have to learn as you go, and learn fast. Then there is this notion that there is a part of you, out in the world that has a life and a personality of its own. You work hard to instill your values, to provide the resources and to pay enough attention to be sure your baby is healthy and hopefully someday can manage on its own.

Chelsea Clinton Santa Cruz
DOWNTOWN KIDS Bookshop Santa Cruz owner Casey Protti Coonerty and her kids met with first daughter Chelsea Clinton, who spoke and signed books at the Bookshop.

There is also a lot of Joy. Just like being a parent, one of the important and powerful aspects of being a business owner is the community and the support that comes with it. We asked some the many amazing business owner / parents in Downtown Santa Cruz about raising kids, running a business, and being a part of the Downtown Santa Cruz community

How are your children involved in your business?

Zach Davis Penny Ice Creamery / Snap Taco: My kids are super food critics. They watch Chopped, Top Chef and all the other cooking shows so they know all the lingo. They’re very adventurous in their eating and are always quick with the feedback. If they like something I know it will be a hit.

Casey Protti Coonerty, Bookshop Santa Cruz: My kids love to work at the store and beg me to work the registers as much as possible. They also help with our events and at this point, they love giving book recommendations in the kids section. They also are my biggest supporters which helps me with everything I do..

What do you think they like most about your business?

Cara Pearson, Pacific Cookie Company: Eating cookies and telling their friends that they own the Pacific Cookie Company.

Casey: Luckily my kids love to read so they like being surrounded by books when their mom needs to work. We get copies in advance of the publication date so they love getting access to books before everyone else. They also love meeting their favorite authors who come for our author visits.

How do you feel being a parent informs the way you do business?

Cara: When I was pregnant with my first daughter I was very conscious of my health and what I ate. During that time the research about trans-fatty acids in hydrogenated oils and their negative health benefits came to light. We used them in some cookie flavors and it dawned on me that I wouldn’t feed that cookie to my baby girl. It was at that time that we re-formulated all of our recipes to remove the trans-fats. Being a parent regularly informs my business decisions. It changes everything.

Valerie Moselle, Luma Yoga: Running a business is about establishing systems and working towards consistency, and then rolling with the variables. Family life is much the same way! I think I’m more organized about my business than I am in my family. (They don’t appreciate that!)

How do you think your children have benefited from you having a downtown business?

Linnaea Holgers James, Artisans & Agency: They have that “who are the people in your neighborhood” experience. They are part of the downtown community. From taking art classes at Kaiwa, to picking out new books at Bookshop, getting ice cream at one of the many awesome places downtown, they are always seeing people they know!

Cara: We spend a lot of time Downtown which is what I did when I was a little girl while my parents were working. Downtown is a community where everyone knows who you are and they feel safe. The diversity of people and shops lends itself to a rich upbringing.

Valerie: My kids feel at home and comfortable downtown. They understand community, and have a sense of ‘place’. It has been a great experience for my oldest to grow into a more free-range kid downtown. She felt comfortable because she could use our businesses as bases

What is one of your favorite things to do with your children Downtown?

Linnaea: In the summer we love to come down and have lunch and have ice cream or a cupcake from Buttercup and ride the trolley down to the Sanctuary center. In the winter, a new book from bookshop and hot chocolate at Chocolate is always popular.

Zach: If I offer them ice cream at the Penny they will usually go Downtown with me. But if I tell them they can get a book at Bookshop they will be dragging me out of the door 100% of the time.

Casey: We love going to movies and feel lucky to have several options in downtown. We do a regular rotation through our favorite sweet shops – Penny Ice Creamery, Marinis, Buttercup, Mission Hill Ice Creamery and Pacific Cookie Company. Most of our favorite restaurants are down- town where we know the staff well and they know our eating quirks (I think we might be at Zoccoli’s almost every other day). Finally, we always find ourselves back in Bookshop looking at books (it’s an addiction!).

Do you think your Kids want to do what you do when they grow up? If so, or if not, how do you feel about that?

Casey: I’ve told them often that it is completely up to them if they are interested in running the store down the line. If they aren’t, no problem. They just need to find something they are passionate about and makes them happy. If they want to take over the store, I would be happy with that but only once they’ve gone out in the world and tried a number of other things. However, they do have one requirement. When they were with me at Bookshop’s 50th anniversary party, I told them their only requirement is to wheel me up in a wheel- chair to celebrate our 100th anniversary.

Zach: Some days they do, and some days they want to be astronauts or race horse jockeys or such things. If they wanted to join me in the business that would be great, but I’d also be happy if they were eating Snap tacos in space.

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