By: Noelle Friedberg
Ever since Craig and Giovanna Garcia reopened Old California Coffee House & Eatery in January of 2011, it has been their mission to create a place where everyone feels welcome.
But before they opened the doors of this coffee house that is now a central part of the San Marcos community, they found themselves in a much different line of work. The couple moved to San Diego in the early 2000s after selling their multi-million dollar computer business. In 2006, they started their own marketing training company, which they then sold in 2009. This was around the time that Craig was introduced to the world of coffee through a company called JavaFit. In the summer of 2010, Craig found Old Cal Coffee for sale online and decided to jump on the opportunity to fully immerse himself in the coffee business.
Upon walking into Old Cal Coffee, you would never guess that the Garcias haven’t been doing this their whole lives. In only three years, they have turned Old Cal into a place where anyone in the community can come and feel welcome.
On any given day, you can walk in to find a customer playing the piano in between sips of coffee, or a group of women of all ages getting together for their knitting club, or students studying together over warm food and good drinks. And, on the same night, you can come back to find a whole new group of people gathered around one of the fire pits, bonding over shared stories and a good cup of tea.
But the Garcias are not only good at bringing the community to them, they also make it a point to go out into the community by giving back to the city of San Marcos. Old Cal Coffee has been donating coffee every month to Discovery Elementary School for two years in a row, and they make coffee cart donation to Paloma Elementary School. During the recent fires, they donated gift baskets to those who were evacuated to San Marcos High School and Mission Hills High School. In addition to their school donations, they have contributed many gift baskets and gift cards to organizations such as The Boys & Girls Club, Meals on Wheels, TERi Inc, Charity Wings Art Center and many, many more.
The reason Old Cal Coffee has become such a vital part of the San Marcos community is because it has been designed to make everyone feel comfortable. Craig wants Old Cal Coffee to be a place where “whether you are 8 months old and need a high chair, or 80 years old and prefer not to walk up stairs, we can accommodate and both feel welcome in the same room.” Even the variety in their food and drink menus is designed to meet everyone’s needs.
Old Cal Coffee House has won numerous awards including Best Coffee Shop in San Diego three years in a row, best Restaurant in San Marcos four years in a row, and Best Medium Size business by the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce in 2013.