Co-owner Craig Olsen goes nuts over nuts
How would you describe a married couple who spent their lives working in the Bay Area tech industry then quit their jobs and moved to Santa Cruz to buy a specialty nut store? No, “nuts” is not the answer. The correct answer is “brave.” Well, at least it would seem that way. Craig Olsen (who purchased Nut Kreations with his wife, Tami) seems happy with their recent purchase and overall lifestyle switcheroo. The couple has implemented several changes to the already uniquely Santa Cruz establishment (chocolate, gifts, nuts, fruit) and they’ve made it their own. We talked to Craig about the new Nut Kreations.
Have you learned a lot about nuts?
Craig Olsen: Yes, we have. This is an interesting town in that I would say 75 percent of the time, the person on the other side of the counter knows more than we do. This is a very well-informed citizenry. The people that live in Santa Cruz pay attention to what they put in their bodies, which is pretty cool.
What kind of changes have you made?
We kept the name, but we came up with a new logo. I think it’s pretty fun with our squirrel in the middle. The logo attracts a lot of attention. There’s a ton of people that take selfies out in front of our store with the logo in the background. It’s really caught people’s eye, and it’s brought a lot more foot traffic into the store. Also, all the products used to be in open containers. Although it was fast, at the end of the day it wasn’t really great from a freshness perspective. We put everything in hermetically sealed jars now in the store.
Have you created any new products?
Yes. For instance, for people that don’t want to eat anything with granulated sugar but have a sweet tooth, we made a honey-glazed, vanilla, sea salt, ginger pecans. We also have these new wasabi peas. They’re about the size of an olive. They weigh nothing—like a big puff of air. But they pack a pretty cool punch, about a 25-30 second explosion, then you can recover. They’re a lot of fun.
How’s the atmosphere?
We have a new lounge area with a couch and chairs. If people want to hang out with us, we’d love for them to be able to do that. We’ll have things out on the cutting board, waiting for people to sample … the best advertising in the world is to offer tastes of your products. It either tastes awesome or it doesn’t.
104 Lincoln St., Santa Cruz, 431-6435. nutkreations.com