In 2010, Susan Pappas was looking to start a business in Santa Cruz where she could combine her passion for food, family, and meeting new people. Her “Eureka” moment came when she and her husband Mike discovered an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting room in Belmont, California. Four months later, with their partners Mona and Guillermo Silva they opened their own tasting room and retail boutique, the True Olive Connection, in the heart of downtown Santa Cruz. Ever since, the love has been flowing.
When you visit the True Olive Connection, you’ll be treated like family and introduced to the wonderful world of extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Susan, Mike, and their friendly staff love to share knowledge about these exceptional products that not only enhance your cuisine and are fun to cook with, they are good for you. On First Friday Artwalk nights you will also be greeted by Guillermo and Mona who also bring the love from their home in Los Banos, CA. OPA!
Known as the “Human LinkedIn” among some of her friends, Susan is a natural networker who thrives on meeting people and connecting them with others. A Santa Cruz Mountains local, Susan not only connects individuals, she loves to foster connections between Santa Cruz businesses.
She is an active member of the Santa Cruz Downtown Committee and her creative ideas link businesses in new ways that build the local economy. “We’re all about connecting, participating fully in the Santa Cruz community, and giving back every day. That’s our true calling,” says Susan.
The Joy of Giving Back
Beneficiaries include hundreds of local groups such as Save Our Shores, Walnut Women’s Center, and CASA as well as international organizations like Dining for Women, which empowers women locally and globally to rise out of extreme poverty. Susan receives thank you cards every week. “These cards remind me why I’m here and warm my heart,” she says. Giving back to organizations that form the fabric of community is just the right thing to do.”