At 4:30 a.m. each morning, Dustin Blom wakes up for the long day ahead of him. He heads into his coffee shop and bar around 5:30 a.m. to prepare for opening at 7 a.m. Soon after, a barista and a chef join him, and the store is ready for customers.
The shop is Top Dog Coffee Bar in Morro Bay, which has been serving the community with both coffee and beer since 1996.
Before purchasing the business earlier this year, Blom had been a loyal Top Dog customer since 2006. Every morning he would surf at Morro Rock Beach and go to Top Dog for breakfast. When he heard the previous owners were looking to sell in November 2021, he knew he had to jump on the opportunity.
“The name derives from our mission, our cause to help dogs. We donate 10% of our proceeds to local nonprofits that assist with animals and dog shelters,” Blom said.
When customers sign up for coffee subscriptions, which marketing director Kelsey Raecyna handles, they can choose which of these nonprofits they would like the money to go to.
In the partnership with New Life K9s, inmates from the California Men’s Colony have the opportunity to create paintings that are then displayed in the shop. Community members can purchase these pieces, and all of the proceeds go back to New Life K9s.
Blom and Raecyna have also started a system at Top Dog to give back to local first responders, a cause that hits close to home for both. Before purchasing Top Dog, Blom was a full-time paramedic, and he still works part-time hours. Raecyna is currently in graduate school working towards becoming a therapist for first responders, and is married to someone in the profession, as well. If first responders come in uniform, they get a free drip coffee or iced coffee, or 50% off anything else in the store.
“When people come here, they’re going to get good coffee, they’re going to get good service and they’re going to support local businesses,” Blom said. “Not just our own, but other local businesses, especially non-profits.”
The coffee shop also doubles as a bar, with six beers on tap, champagne and wine available to purchase.
After making Yelp’s “25 dog park bars to visit in 2022,” Top Dog has connected with bars in Toronto, San Francisco, New York and more.
“We’re the only coffee shop or bar on the Central Coast that pops up on the yelp review, so we’re really happy about that,” Blom said.
In terms of sourcing products for the bar, Top Dog buys from local breweries to give back to the community. As a coffee roaster, Blom looks to stay sustainable, choosing organic products in an industry that he believes is heading for tough times, as high prices and inflation may be looming.
Raecyna and Blom support local businesses, animal rights, first responders and sustainability to give back to the community and to do their best for customers.
“The hope is that our experience is really welcoming and supportive of everyone that comes in and of the community, but that it’s also unique from other experiences they might have elsewhere,” Raecyna said.
Located at 857 Main St. in Morro Bay, Top Dog is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.