Reputation of Exceptional Santa Cruz Products Expands Regionally and Nationally
What do Oprah Winfrey, author John Grisham and Christina Aguilera have in common? They are all longstanding customers of Annieglass, Inc., now celebrating 30 years of creating “Art for the Table.”
Is there anyone in Santa Cruz who doesn’t feel proud to say that Annieglass is made right in our own town? I certainly did when I saw Annieglass in the gift shop at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite!
Ann Morhauser, sole designer, is responsible for the famed slumped-glass plates, bowls and serving dishes which adorn celebrity dining rooms from Hollywood to the Vatican, as well as two pieces shown in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Annieglass has showrooms in Los Angeles, New York, Dallas and Atlanta, and is sold by 500 luxury retailers including Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Gump's and Bergdorf Goodman.
Every piece of Annieglass is designed and handmade in Morhauser's Watsonville factory, which can turn out up to 600 pieces per day in approximately 500 sizes, shapes and designs. Almost 100% of the products are sold outside of California, and Morhauser admits that the pressure to move manufacturing offshore began right off the bat and has never let up. Her response? “I feel lucky to be playing in this sandbox.”
Gorgeous Annielgass designs
New retail store opening
Besides the store at 310 Harvest Drive, Watsonville, customers will be able to purchase Annieglass at a new shop opening early 2015 on Santana Row in San Jose. Morhauser started looking at spaces there a year ago and felt that it seemed like the perfect fit. She says, “We are offering something they have little of there, locally made, original glassware. The store will be beautiful, emphasizing Annieglass and the top jewelry lines we sell now.”
Pacific Cookie Company
Pacific Cookie Company, another one of Santa Cruz’s most popular family-run businesses for more than three decades, has added a Berkeley store near the UC campus. The new location provides the same top-quality ingredients and friendly service that has made the Santa Cruz store a success.
President Cara Pearson says, “The handmade cookie dough is prepared daily at the company’s commercial kitchen in Santa Cruz and delivered to Berkeley, where it’s hand-scooped and baked fresh. Of the 13 kinds of cookies available at the new store, the most popular include Cahootz - white chocolate and macadamia nuts, Mint Condition - double chocolate and mint and Almond Joe - almonds, chocolate and coconut.”
New Berkeley location
The cookies are distributed throughout California and can be shipped all over the U.S. Another spot outside of Santa Cruz to get your cookie fix is at the deli on 5th Avenue in Carmel-by-the Sea.
The company was founded in 1980 by Larry and Shelly Pearson, who both are still actively involved. Daughter Cara took over as president in 2013 and says that one reason for Pacific Cookie Company’s longevity is its continuing goal to evolve and improve their affordable gourmet product. She spearheaded the company’s decision to use butter and all natural ingredients, eliminating trans-fats in the process and maintaining the company’s dedication to quality.
Food columnist Donna Maurillo of Santa Cruz won the company’s Mother’s Day Facebook photo contest. Donna relates that her Mom called from Syracuse, NY after receiving the cookies and said, "I just got the cookies and I've already eaten three of them. I can't stop. They're so fresh and certainly aren't skimpy!" Not only has a fan just been made on the other side of the country, but Berkeley has just become a little more PC – as in Pacific Cookie-correct.
Behind the Cookie Blog
A blog created by company employees details interesting facts, one being that the oven used in the downtown retail store is the same oven they’ve been using since 1980.
I personally recall when Scotts Valley Rotarian friend Tom Grant won the company’s cookie naming contest for a new cookie debuting in 1985. He shared his prize of dozens of those cookies, known now as Almond Joe, for the period of a year. As the blog says, “A pretty sweet prize!”
Storrs Winery & Vineyard Tasting Room
After leaving the commercial cookie kitchen in the Sash Mill complex, my next stop was the nearby tasting room of neighbor Storrs Winery. Owners and winemakers Stephen and wife Pamela have been making wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains since the ‘80s. Steve was on hand to answer questions about out-of-state wine sales in the DC area, Texas and Hawaii. They specifically enjoy traveling each year to Oahu for a large trade show tasting and charity event.
The couple is justifiably proud of their 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Commercial Wine Competition Awards: Double Gold for 2012 Christie Vineyard Chardonnay and Gold medals for both 2010 Central Coast Zinfandel and 2012 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay.
During the months of June and July 2014, they are offering a series of weekend tastings featuring a focus on the medal-winning Mountain Collection Chardonnays paired with cheeses, etc., and possibly a few classes about Chardonnay blending. These weekend tastings continue until July 27. “Summer is a great time to celebrate Chardonnay!” says Pamela.
Storrs wines are also widely distributed in Los Angeles, Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Visitors to our scenic Santa Cruz area are encouraged to visit these three top producers of outstanding products, and also learn how to continue to enjoy them upon returning home.
Photo by r.r. jones
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