APTOS — Big changes are under way in Aptos. On top of the sprawling Aptos Village Project, which saw the opening of New Leaf Community Market Wednesday, next comes Betty Burgers.
Situated in the former Vapor Laundromat on Trout Gulch Road, just yards off of Soquel Drive and across the street from Caroline’s, a non-profit thrift shop, the single-story space is currently under reconstruction.
“We’re hoping to be open in October or November,” said Laurie Negro, who owns three other locations of Betty Burgers in Santa Cruz County. “We already have all our permits. We’ve been looking for an Aptos location for the past 10 years. We think this place is perfect. ”
Negro said the new location will offer “exactly the same menu” as her other stores, that are located on 41st Avenue in Capitola, Seabright Avenue and Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. The walk-up counter business will offer about eight kinds of burgers, on top of salmon, chicken, turkey and veggie burgers, hot dogs, and onion rings. Salads, a huge variety of fries, a kid’s menu, Polar Bear Ice Cream and shakes and malts round out the menu.
They will also offer wine and eight beers on tap.
“There’s plenty of parking, and we’re looking forward to our business integrating with the Aptos Village Project,” Negro said.
When Negro last year first signed on to the property and was waiting for permits to clear, she was approached by Christy Licker, director and founder of Caroline’s. Licker brought up the idea of possibly using the empty building as a temporary staging area and extension to her shop for a large amount of goods her non-profit business had just acquired.
“We had just taken in two estates and an entire women’s fashion shop that went out of business — all of which was donated,” Licker said. “We needed a place to spread all this out just to see what we had.”
That’s when Negro gave Licker the green light to use the empty space until work got under way on Betty Burgers.
“We were happy to help Christy out,” Negro said. “The timing was perfect. If I could, I would do it all over again — it was for a good cause.”
Thus began the temporary Caroline’s Pop-Up Shop in the Betty Burgers site. The building gave Licker about a five-month opportunity to spread her business out and prepare for a major remodel of her exiting business that is situated in two buildings on Trout Gulch Road.
“We’re getting ready to remodel here at Caroline’s,” Licker said. “I think we’ll start in late summer.”
She added that Talmadge Construction will donate their time with the construction that will include replacing three large metal storage containers currently used for inventory. A new sink, washer and dryer are in the mix as well.
“We’ll actually be able to receive more donations after the remodel,” Licker said. “We’ve been here eight years — since 2011, and have raised $1,290,000 for 26 local organizations.”
Licker said the organizations Caroline’s donates to include Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, Hospice of Santa Cruz County, Jacob’s Heart, CASA, Teen Kitchen, Shared Adventures, Second Harvest Food Bank/Food For Kids, Big Brothers Big Sisters SC and Easter Seals Central
When asked if Betty Burgers is a local business, Negro said, “My family is local alright; we’ve lived here since 1917.”
Editor's note: This article will publish in the May 3 edition of the Register-Pajaronian.