An A-student, athletic waterpolo student, competitive swimmer, avid hiker, and all-around beach beauty with long blonde hair and golden-copper skin—Summer Mote could be the iconic California girl the Beach Boys sang into history. Summer and her older sister Danielle were raised in a strict household where chores came first, then school, and finally play. Although frustrating at times, the disciplined regimen would pay dividends later in her life.
However, life had other plans for Summer, and on the late side of fifteen, she started working. At sixteen, she dropped out of school to go to work full-time: California Images, Blue Sky, Dutchman’s Seafood House, Otter Rock, Sub-Sea Tours, and The Sea Shanty were some of the jobs where Summer learned how to interact with customers and the public in general.
Nevertheless, Summer decided she wanted to be on her own, so she took her parents to court to become emancipated. Despite parental concerns, she won her court case. “Look, Dad, it’s cool. You won’t have to be my parent anymore. We can just be friends.” Summer had just turned 16.
Today, Summer is 25. She is looking out at the rolling hills as we sit on my back deck. She talks easily with a smile that radiates the goodness in her heart. Taking a sip of water, she reflects back on her teen years. “At the time, I didn’t realize how much that hurt my parents. I just wanted to be my own person. Today, I love my parents dearly. My father taught me to cook. He is a life-long vegetarian as was his dad. They were definitely ahead of their time. Eating healthy made a life-long impression on me, although I might not have realized it at the time.”
Waitressing taught young Summer the restaurant business. Long hours, varying tips, rude customers, and a variety of bosses shaped her early perspective of what a business should be. By the time she turned 17, she had returned to school (San Luis Obispo Adult School) to receive her diploma. She would eventually attend Cuesta College taking early childhood education classes.
Summer learned quickly that living on her own was not easy. She lived for a while off of HWY 41 without electricity while she continued to work. Later she rented a room from some adult friends and stayed in their home. “It was so nice to have hot water and electricity again,” she remarked with a smile.
Soon, her life took an unexpected turn when her car was t-boned by an errant driver. Her car was totaled, but since it wasn’t her fault, “I ended up receiving a nice fat check.” She had just turned 18, she had money in her pocket, so Summer decided to travel. She spent the next few weeks in Costa Rica. All the time, her mind acted like a sponge soaking up new ideas revolving around starting a business. Later, she would travel to several different countries.
When she returned, she found her own place to live. “I never want to live with roommates again. Finding my own place made all the difference in the world. I tend to get anxious if my house isn’t neat and clean. I love the simple order of things. I was so happy to find and create my own safe haven.”
“Eventually, I met Cody St. James (my fiancé). Cody is a talented musician as well as the Production Manager at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo. We fell in love, and everything just fell into place.” However, another dramatic shift would change Summer’s life. Cody was the father to three little boys: Wyatt 10, Emmett 8, and Knox 6. Without a second thought, Summer evolved into a young mother with three boys. A little while later, Cody’s sister showed up and the house was full. Cody’s younger sister had been living with her grandmother, but when grandma grew ill, she came to California to join her older brother. Tejas (taysha) is now 16 and plans to complete her degree via an independent study program.
Listening to Summer share her story left me wondering. At one moment, she is young, independent, and on her own, and the next—she has four children depending on her. The two are a team—Summer completed the family while Cody helped her with her dreams of owning a business. Today, the family lives an active lifestyle of camping, swimming, surfing, and hiking.
Meanwhile, Summer searches for the perfect location for her dream store and finds it down on the Embarcadero—“A place I love.” The owner of the space is reluctant to rent to someone so young. “Look young lady, I admire that you want to start your own business, but I want my place rented for a long time—not just a few months. So, if you are serious, you must sign a one year lease.”
Summer looked plainly at the kind old lady. “My business will not fail. Failure is not an option. Why don’t we make it a five-year lease with an option to renew for another five years?” The papers were signed; Summer Mote was now a determined business owner ready to buck the odds that most businesses fail within the first year. When I asked Summer how she did the first year, she smiled. “ I broke even. Of course, I didn’t take much of a salary. This second year, I am taking a salary, and the business might make a couple thousand. However, I am making plans. The business is evolving.”
I asked her about her business card with a Goddess on the front. “My dad did the artwork; he is an incredible artist. The Goddess with a flower spiraling up her mid-section symbolizes femininity, fertility, and constant growth. Also, the verbiage represents me offering my goods to others.”
Today, Goddess Goods (located at 1124 Front Street in Morro Bay) offers vegan delights and gluten-free products. It offers fresh juices and smoothies, huge veggie wraps with side salads, lots of local goods, and other delights such as a 3-day “Juice Cleanse” that will clean out one’s body by removing fiber. “This morning a local woman came in for lunch and shared how happy she was that there is another place where she and other vegans can go to eat healthy food. I thanked her dearly for telling me that because that is the direction of Goddess Goods. I’m always delighted to know I’ve made someone else happy.”
Another exciting accomplishment involved partnering with Estero Bay Kindness, started by Bobby De Lancellotti who passionately provides meals for children in the area who are beneath the poverty level. Goddess Goods is now a designated drop off spot for food collection. Also, Summer earned the Surfriders Foundation seal of approval and is officially identified as an ocean-friendly restaurant, using compostable recycled materials, paper straws, corn starch cutlery and eco-friendly practices. Other plans include using the site to offer workshops about plant-based diets, food allergens, and the impact different foods have on our bodies taught by, Chef Veronica Dailey.
Finally, Summer is hosting a full moon paint party on November 12th from 6–8 pm as her first after-hours event. “I am so excited. It’s $45 and all the supplies are provided. I will have complimentary snacks and beverages for everyone. There are limited spots available. It’s going to be a blast!” For more information, visit www.goddessgoodsmb.com or call Goddess Goods at 805-225-5001.