Dominick LaLicata, owner of Downtown Benicia’s Heritage Pantry and Spice, says of his business, “The store was built on a love of friends coming together around a table of good food.” With wife Suzanne Joncoaltz, the couple spent countless evenings bonding over the “epic cheese and meat trays” that Dominick provided at get-togethers during his time as a manager at a local Italian specialty food store.
With Dominick’s previous experience in deli management and their combined passion for food, opening their own store was a natural next step. Heritage Pantry and Spice started in The Tannery in 2015, offering dried goods and pantry items. “We loved our Tannery community, but we knew we wanted to sell cheeses and meats,” said Suzanne. “To do that, we had to find a new space.”
Heritage moved to its location in Treasury Commons in 2016, and The Little Deli expansion was just completed, offering a wider variety of artisanal cheeses and charcuterie, sandwiches and catering. “We are also collaborating with The Chill Wine Bar, to provide deli trays for their customers. Now you can order small plates, cheese and meat boards, and rustic sandwiches from Heritage at The Chill. We’re so happy to be in Benicia, and working with The Chill” Suzanne said. “This is a special place.”
Julie Rae’s experience in high-end bar and restaurant management gave her a variety of tools used to start her own business, Dapper Digz. The business is unique in that Julie, who lives here in town, combines home services tailored to the client’s needs—from housekeeping and dog walking, to organization, meal prep and errands—a ‘girl Friday,’ but much more. “I work with clients on their specific requirements. For housekeeping, my standards are very high and I treat people's belongings with care and respect,” Julie says. Some projects lead to others as customers get to know her and love the flexibility her company offers. For example, Julie enjoys doing customized organization projects, which fills a need that many struggle to complete on their own.
Julie’s restaurant background allowed her to hone her skills with cooking/food prep, as well as party planning. This aspect of the business includes personal shopping for clients, preparing nutritious snacks, helping execute food and drink menus for parties and making dinner ahead for families short on time. Julie is passionate about family pet care as well—and has experience with cats and most dog breeds. I treat them like my own,” she says.
Spark to Shine
Many of us are familiar with the Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi quote, “What you are seeking is seeking you. “ This seems like an apt way to introduce Robbin Stebbins, Registered Nurse, who also owns Spark to Shine, a life & health coaching business.
It’s Robin’s task to help her clients understand what old patterns may be keeping them stuck in a rut, or not enjoying life to the fullest. Through a host of coaching tools, she helps them recognize unhealthy patterns, and strategize letting them go. “What are those? Why do people hang on to them? Everyone has their true north—their authentic life. I help people find their way—I’m a wayfinder,” she says. “Martha Beck was the first life coach. We all need a life coach for various stages and situations in life.”
Rumi also said, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Robin watches for clues or triggers that the clients might not recognize themselves. “The more limiting beliefs you rid yourself of, the healthier your relationships are. We get to the heart, or root, of what’s holding you back so you can invite abundance in love, in work and in life. It’s living the best version of yourself.”