August 12, 2015

Note: Home/Work has moved to a larger location at 1100 Soquel Avenue. 

Step through the door of the new downtown retail store Home/Work, and it feels as if you are walking into someone’s home. And that was exactly the intention of owner, Sonia McMoran, who wanted to create a welcoming space where people could have a special shopping experience. Located at 765 Cedar Street suite 103, the space exudes a personal touch that features handcrafted and vintage goods, and even includes a space for kids to play in the back. Stop by and you may find Sonia sitting down to enjoy a cookie with customers at one of the display tables. It's just that personal.

One of the truly unique things about Santa Cruz is that Santa Cruzans and visitors alike can have one on one interactions with retail shop owners. There are an amazing number of small businesses where you will likely find the owner of the business checking you out at the register. And these owners further connect their customers with the purveyors who make the products they are buying. It’s a truly local, one of a kind experience where shoppers can feel a connection to what they are buying and the shop owners get to have direct interaction and hear feedback from their customers.

No matter how many sales I do, everytime someone makes a purchase, I am so happy they like what I've found.

In a past life, Sonia was a journalist who would find products and write about the people making them, but she always had dreams of opening her own store. After getting lots of encouragement and support from her husband, she started working with Santa Cruz SCORE where she participated in a "Starting your Business" workshop and was teamed up with a SCORE mentor who answered all her questions and even role played lease negotiations. From there the hunt was on to find the perfect space. The location she chose on Cedar street provided the perfect way to ease into her business, allowing her to be downtown without all the pressures and costs of being on the main drag.

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The inspiration for what kind of retail business Home/Work would be came out of the designing of her own home. Sonia was having a hard time finding the items locally that she wanted to put in it, and the style she was looking for didn’t really exist in Santa Cruz. She ended up sourcing a lot of the items from sellers on Etsy, and received a lot of positive feedback from friends and family who wanted to know where she found certain items. This sparked the idea that there might be a market for the kind of stuff she likes,and other people seemed to like.

Carrying both new and vintage items, a majority of the new products are sourced from independent makers around the United States, and the majority of that is locally made in Santa Cruz and the Bay Area. For Sonia, starting a business that supports local makers in Santa Cruz, was a no brainer, because "people in Santa Cruz love to support each other, to buy local, and to support local"

I wanted a store where I could support local makers, but also wanted a store where I could support local community.

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From the beginning Sonia wanted Home/Work to also be a business that supported the community. Even within the four months it has been open, Home/Work has hosted events that support Foster Ed, a Santa Cruz County Foster Program, the SPCA, and a Women in Retail Meetup. Sonia also wants to develop a sense of community along Cedar street and promote the downtown as more than just Pacific Avenue. With amazing shops like the Penny Ice Creamery, So Fresh Clothing, Erik's Deli, and the farmers market and antique fair all located on Cedar, “it seems like a natural progression to continue all that great downtown energy onto Cedar.”

To learn more about Home/Work visit:

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