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Greetings from the fire and flood zone of Santa Barbara, California! We have been through a rough month here. But, everything is relative. We did not lose our home or our life, as did our number one market leader in luxury real estate. For us, this local tragedy represented a challenge to maintain our focus and also to keep our spirits high, to practice what we preach to our clients: Continuously look for opportunities and find evidence of a silver lining.

With our main Highway 101 closed (both north and south of us) during the aftermath of this tragedy and the intensive cleanup operations that have been ongoing, we were completely isolated. Finally, last week southbound 101 towards Los Angeles was opened and we took off like birds out of a cage.

Just 30 minutes away to the south and up into the mountains of Los Padres National Forrest is the quaint town of Ojai, which is known for its progressive, “New Age” thinking and also for its artist colony. Although, the fires reached the surrounding area it spared the town itself, so it made the perfect getaway. Besides, we had not been there for many years.

As two foodies we naturally discovered a great restaurant for breakfast and then found two wonderful independent grocery stores that offer unique organic and homemade delicacies that are not available in our own area. One major market find was the famous Cowgirl Creamery artisan cheeses brought in from Northern California.  Another was homemade sausage including hot Italian, country style and chorizo.

Breakfast at Home Kitchen of Ojai was a total delight apart from our own indecision over the extensive menu with too many amazing choices.  We settled on the Ojai omelet: Bacon, Avocado, Green Chili, Sour Cream, Salsa and Cheddar Cheese.  But, the biggest surprise was their complimentary “signature” Swedish Pancake that everyone was offered, on the house.

The pancake was a remarkable gesture that should give “food for thought” to luxury real estate marketing professionals. It certainly has sparked word-of-mouth advertising from us!

Be sure to catch Part 2 of this article series as we share our silver lining discovery of Point de Chêne, a wine store in Ojai that has absolutely nailed its brand positioning and messaging-another wonderful lesson for luxury real estate marketing professionals.