Diverse Santa Cruz Economy Powered by Ag, Tourism, Technology
When it comes to the corporate community, Santa Cruz is a mixed bag. Companies hawking everything from guitars to bicycle helmets to specialty teas call the Central Coast California city home. Out of the collage, though, some leading industries do emerge. Agriculture is a pillar of the California economy, and the trend does not fail in Santa Cruz. The California Certified Organic Farmers supports the growth and distribution of more than 750 crops and products through premier organic certification program, trade support, producer and consumer education and political advocacy. Agriculture is also listed as a boon to the city’s economy in several reports, including one by Applied Survey Research. Tourism is another sizable industry in Santa Cruz. Visitors are drawn to the enviable outdoor recreation, the historic boardwalk and the rare marine preserve at Monterey Bay. Another driving trade in Santa Cruz is technology. One example of a tech company headquartered in the city is Plantronics, which manufactures headsets for computers and cell phones. Less flashy but equally important is the University of California, Santa Cruz, which is the largest employer in Santa Cruz County with more than 4,500 full-time-equivalent employees. In addition to the California Certified Organic Farmers, many non-agriculture organic companies have put down roots in Santa Cruz. Examples include Santa Cruz Nutritionals, a manufacturer of vitamin-fortified jellybeans and non-fortified organic snacks, and Noli n Nali, a maker of organic skincare and shampoo products. The Odwalla Juice Company was also founded in Santa Cruz in 1980. The competitor of the likes of Minute Maid produces organic juices, shakes and snack bars that retail at grocery stores and coffee shops across the nation.