Santa Maria - North County

On The Road in Old Town Orcutt

Annual series returns for First Friday

On the Road in Old Town Orcutt

ORCUTT, Calif. - Once the home of a booming oil industry in the Santa Maria Valley decades ago, Old Town Orcutt has evolved into a destination for dining, shopping and soon to be lodging for locals and visitors.

Old Town Orcutt has grown over the years holding onto its past, keeping its unique western character and charm.

"There's a lot of history to this market", said Mark Steller owner of the Old Town Market on Clark Avenue, "in 1948 the Scolari family opened this market just with a little small quansett hut and now about five or six remodels later, it's what you still see here now.

Historic buildings in Old Town Orcutt like the Orcutt Trade Center which used to be a hotel dating back to the 1920's, is now home to thriving local commerce.

"Love it here, absolutely love it here", said Heidi Gruetzenmacher owner of the Frame Gallery in the historic Orcutt Trade Center, "I love this building, I love my neighbors, its wonderful and the town is growing and our business has picked up in the last year."

Old Town Orcutt also benefits from being on the main trail of a thriving Santa Barbara County wine country tourism industry.

"Let's face it, we are making world class wines right here in the Santa Maria Valley", Mark Steller said, "Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are among the best in the world, and the Rhone wines we grow out here are dynamite, it's taking a while for the community to appreciate that but wine is a huge boon to the local economy."

Investment in the future is paying dividends with the soon to be opening of the Wine Stone Inn boutique hotel, the first new lodging establishment in Old Town Orcutt.

Like everywhere else on the Central Coast, Old Town Orcutt is seeing its share of ups and downs when it comes to local businesses and the economy, some make it, others don't.

"I don't think it's peaked yet, I think its in the mix for a long time", Mark Steller said of Old Town Orcutt, "the last ten years there's been a lot of hype, but I think in the next ten years you're probably going to see twice as much."

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