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The founder of Cruise Coffee Cafe, Erin Buchla can be shy at times and does not seek the spotlight, but the spotlight seeks her because of all she does for the community and the influence that she has on others. Her creativity on how to help the community and still run a thriving business is the stuff that all business owners need to learn from. It is not all business for Erin, her influence comes from giving back, from involving others and from finding ways to bring our commUNITY together.

Indeed, Erin is a TOP 10 Positive Woman Influencer for 2024.

Before coming to Scotts Valley, where did you live?
I have lived in Santa Cruz County for 31 years.  I moved here from the Bay Area (Berkeley/Oakland) to attend Cabrillo College and study Early Childhood Education.  I was a single parent of a two year old and wanted to learn how to parent.  After taking classes I realized I loved working with children and I could be a positive influence in helping parents create happy, successful humans
What brought you to Scotts Valley and how long have you lived here?
Due to many years of carrying children on my hips, my back and hips were extremely painful.  My Dr. told me he had good news and bad news for me. Good news: no surgery. Bad news: no more carrying children. I decided to pivot my love of food, coffee and customer service into a small business.  I had a friend who is an amazing coffee roaster join me and we were on the look out for a coffee endeavor.  Heather’s Made to Go at Pinnacle Pass became available to me and I thought it was the perfect size for me to try business ownership. That was 6 years ago.
What do you love most about living here? 
The community number one!!  I had lived in the mountains and lived by the beach and only used Scotts Valley as a thoroughfare.  Opening the drive-thru and getting to know the people seeded my love of Scotts Valley.  Now I see it as the connection between the trees and the seas.  And lets be transparent….. the first responders in this town are amazing.  I feel safe and appreciated and I know my mom is safe.
Please describe what drives and motivates you to do more for others and for the people of Scotts Valley.
Little known fact: Baristas are mini counselers (similar to bartenders).  When you grow a relationship with your customers, they share their hardships along with their happiness.  I have always had a giving nature, but with the small coffee shop I had a platform to try to help people in whatever capacity that may be.  When Covid and the fires happened I knew I wanted to be a part of the healing.  As an ex-nanny (can you ever be an ex nanny?) I also wanted to share my expertise and empathy with parents by creating a space for them to relax and/or to share their struggles with me.
I have so much to learn about business and it’s a constant struggle and an opportunity for growth, but there is no way I could be where I am at and as happy as I am without the support of the golden commUNITY.