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Home by the water: Skipper's Brew Coffee House in Morro Bay

Michigan couple takes a chance on Morro Bay with coffee shop


About a year ago, Larry and Ivy Schmidt were working full-time jobs just like everyone else. Working to have their home, working to clothe and feed themselves and their children. It was the same old grind.

Larry was a mechanic and Ivy a teacher.

"We were just caught up in working all the time and not having any fun, so we decided to take a huge chance," Larry said.

The couple decided that they needed change and that meant moving from Michigan to California, leaving everything that was familiar behind. Instead of just looking for other jobs, the couple wanted to try their hand at a business. For about two months, they have been the proud owners of Skipper's Brew Coffee House in Morro Bay.

When they left Michigan, the Schmidts knew that if it became necessary, they could always find jobs in their respective fields to support their family.

"I'm getting a bit older and being a mechanic is getting harder on the body, so we thought we'd try something else," he said.

Smiling, Larry said they sold everything they owned and bought a motorhome.

"We packed the kids in it, the cats, and us, and we drove across the United States, visiting Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon. All those amazing stops and sights," he said.

The destination was always California, Ivy said. They had visited the area years before and knew it was where they belonged.

"We had joked, 'Wouldn't it be wonderful to find a place on the water that we could call our own?' I couldn't believe it worked out," Ivy said.

After traveling across the states, the family made their way from Southern California to the Central Coast. Larry said he looked on the website for a local business they could take over. To their surprise, a coffee shop on the Embarcadero in Morro Bay was for sale.

"It came up, and I thought, 'No way, a coffee shop on the water. Yes, please!'" Larry said.

The previous owner was moving to Washington state and ready to leave her business in the hands of someone else, and the Schmidts were ready to take it on. While the coffee shop itself is small, Larry and Ivy fill it with hard work and lots of love—and occasionally their two children too.

"We're training the kids to be baristas," Larry said with a laugh.

The shop is housed within a building that leads to a deck, so after ordering a mocha or dirty chai you can enjoy the waters of Morro Bay and the view of Morro Rock on a clear day. Not only does the couple run the business, they're inside the blue-hued shop making every cup of coffee to your liking. If coffee isn't your thing, the couple also has Whalebird kombucha on tap, and they make tea and fruit smoothies.

Inspired by the Central Coast motto of keeping it local, the coffee beans come straight from SLO Roasted Coffee in Los Osos.

The family said they've been supported and encouraged by the Morro Bay community to make their shop a grinding success.

"It has just been wonderful so far; Morro Bay has been the best to us. The local business owners and the City Council has been so welcoming," Ivy said.

To have a cup of joe and visit with Ivy and Larry, take a walk down to 571 Embarcadero in Morro Bay.

Fast fact

On Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., sample guacamole from all different kinds of recipes and quench your thirst with margaritas. The Avocado and Margarita Festival in Morro Bay will have live music, arts and crafts, and specialty vendors. For more information, visit Δ

Staff Writer Karen Garcia wrote this week's Strokes and Plugs. Send tidbits to [email protected].

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