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Spring Forward 

More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by it; almost 80 percent of the human body is composed of it. Our most precious natural resource: water. And when it comes to clean, refreshing drinking water, there’s one name in San Luis Obispo that’s been quenching the thirst for a century. In 2005, Crystal Springs Water will celebrate its 100th anniversary in business. Few businesses in San Luis Obispo can claim the centenarian status, but Crystal Springs has been running strong since 1905. And for current owner Eric Mulay, the glass is just half full. He hopes to continue serving this community for another 100 years.

Mulay’s family has kept the water flowing for 60 years, since Eric’s grandfather Edmond Downing Jr. purchased the company in 1944. Even before that, Downing’s father had been an employee of the company, making a total of four generations of family involvement. Today Eric and Suzanne Mulay operate the bottled water delivery service, while John Jr. and Tricia Mulay operate the reverse-osmosis softening business.

Blood may be thicker than water, but the Mulays aren’t the only ones in it for the long haul. The longevity of the business is matched by the loyalty of its customers. The convenience of home and office delivery has kept one family ordering water from Crystal Springs for 70 years.

The company’s staff also demonstrates a refreshing level of commitment. Most employees have been with the company for more than a decade. And this year, Billy Raetz and Joe Ybarra will celebrate their 35th year with Crystal Springs.

As it’s done for a hundred years, Crystal Springs continues to gather its water from directly behind the corporate headquarters at 3215 Rockview Place. The water is bottled fresh at the source, date stamped, and delivered the next day. Today, Crystal Springs’ service saturates the entire Central Coast, from Carpinteria to San Simeon.

To commemorate the milestone anniversary, the company has a number of special events on tap, including a new web site ( and some special promotions in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and other local businesses. Crystal Springs is one of seven charter members in the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, which formed in 1905.

For more info or to order service, call Crystal Springs Water at 543-5063.


Also celebrating a watershed anniversary this year, Coastal Computers will turn 26 in January. The first independent computer retailer in the San Luis Obispo area, Coastal Computers opened in 1979 in the old Andrews Building at 986 Monterey St. In the past quarter-century, they’ve seen technology go from bits to gigabytes, punch cards to Java, and from snail mail to e-mail. But through the years, they’ve never stopped delivering leading-edge services to Central Coast businesses. Today, the company is located at 3195 McMillan and can be reached at 543-9047. …

… Not everyone is old enough to celebrate an anniversary this year, but for those preparing to celebrate their first birthday, a brand new business is now open and offering childbirth assistance. Carrie Foster Evans started Birthing a Family Childbirth Preparation in the spring of 2004 and now leads a series of classes, the first of their kind on the Central Coast, based on Pam England’s landmark publication, “Birthing From Within, An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation.� For more info or a schedule of classes, contact Evans at 481-2244. …

… The first ever iPod Shop is now open in San Luis Obispo. Located next door to the Mac Superstore in the Pacific Coast Center at Higuera and Madonna, the store is the first of its kind to be devoted entirely to iPods and accessories, with more than 100 different iPod products. For more info, call 781-6227.


Staff Writer Jeff Hornaday compiled this week’s Strokes & Plugs. E-mail him at

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