What’s a Casmalia resident to do if they run out of sugar, beer, or any variety of canned goods? They’d make a trip to the convenience/grocery stores in Tanglewood, Orcutt, Guadalupe, or Santa Maria.
Norman Watt got tired of constantly having to make the trip to town so he opened up the Casmalia Corner Market, a small convenience market located in the same building as the U.S. Post Office at 3401 Point Sal Road. It’s a small town and therefore the new store isn’t hard to find. Watt opened the market in early May.[[PASTING TABLES IS NOT SUPPORTED]]
Originally from Littleton, Colo., Watt has lived in Casmalia for about 20 years. Driving five to 10 minutes to Tanglewood isn’t that far of a drive for most people with a car, but it’s more about convenience.
“There’s nothing out here and it’s a far drive into town,” Watt told the Sun. “Tanglewood is the closest 7-Eleven kind of store.”
Watt said the store is your basic convenience store. He’ll sell items often found in household cabinets and cupboards like canned food and other common items.
It won’t have a deli or anything like that, though. Watt said he doesn’t have the proper permits to have one. To get one, Watt said he’d need to install some equipment, such as a three-sink dish-washing station. The store only has one sink.
Instead, he’ll offer pre-packaged food like sandwiches, which he’ll buy elsewhere and sell at his store.
“It’s going to be like a market that will have everything people might forget while they’re out and about,” Watt said, “or if they’re home and they need to get something.”
A notice for a permit to sell alcohol is posted on the window. Watt isn’t allowed to sell it yet, but it’ll surely be a huge plus for residents who want to enjoy a few cold ones at home. The Hitching Post steakhouse is the only place in Casmalia that sells alcohol. Watt plans to sell only wine and beer, much of it local.
The store’s open every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., although Watt is playing with the hours to see if he wants to remain open later. Locals may have to pardon the inconvenience, but they might find the store closed in the middle of the day when Watt is buying more supplies. So far he says it’s been fairly “mellow” since he opened.
It’s a small town, but Watt is hoping that his store will lead to bigger things, like a farmers market. It probably won’t be as big as the one in Santa Maria, he said, since Casmalia is so small.
It’s Watt’s first time having such a business, but he’s getting lots of help. His sister, Robin Gorley, helps him run the store and keep up with accounting.
Watt brings years of experience to the local market. He worked at the FoodMaxx grocery store in the north end of Santa Maria for 27 years.
“I pretty much got an idea how to do this,” he said.
The secluded town of Casmalia is getting its first new business in years with the opening of the Casmalia Corner Market in the historic Post Office building.
Owners of the new business say the town of Casmalia has been without a general store for several years forcing residents to purchase convenience store items several miles away in Tanglewood, Orcutt or Santa Maria.
Its a new beginning for a building that's been around longer than anyone can remember.
The new Casmalia Corner Market aims to bring convenience to a town that's gone without for years.
"I have a lot of faith that it can work", says Michael Garcia with the Casmalia Corner Market, "with the right products any store can work, its all about knowing your people that surround you and what their needs and necessities will be."
The historic building that houses the Corner Market and the Casmalia Post Office sits in the center of a town in a quiet northwest corner of Santa Barbara County that prides itself on its bucolic serenity and seclusion.
"I think that might be why more people, the people that live here, are drawn here", says local resident Jeanette Hall, "because maybe there isn't that much business out here, so we don't get that much traffic."
The dozens of people who call Casmalia home are looking for convenience goods without having to drive several miles to Tanglewood, Orcutt or Santa Maria.
"Absolutely", says local resident William Henson, "it will the help the town thrive a little bit more than we have been."
Jeanette Hall says she too welcomes the new Casmalia Corner Market, saying change is good for the town, as long as its not too much.
"Stay just like it is", Hall says, "7-11 or whatever? Oh gosh no."
The owners of the new Casmalia Corner Market plan to stock their shelves in the coming days, they plan to sell beer and wine and hope to help attract a Farmer's Market to the center of town.