Hidden Fortress Opens Cafe at Cruzioworks

Hidden Fortress Cafe at Cruzioworks

Amelia and her staff are super friendly and they serve great food

Hidden Fortress Coffee, known by many as the coffee vendor at Santa Cruz Community Farmers Markets since 2013, has just opened their first downtown Santa Cruz location. The new spot is inside the Cruzio Works space, 877 Cedar Street, at Church Street.

Hidden Fortress Cafe at Cruzio
Grand Opening Thursday July 25


This little grab and go coffee bar features the organic coffee that owner Amelia Loftus has been roasting since 2012 in Watsonville. It additionally offers a full espresso bar with handcrafted mixers plus a selection of grab & go pastries and breakfast burritos made in their Watsonville kitchen. Also available made to order are a toast bar featuring locally baked sourdough bread (including a gluten free option) and a selection of breakfast sandwiches.

The cafe fits perfectly with Cruzio’s coworking space, Cruzioworks. Working in a lovely, light-filled environment and getting up for a delicious coffee and a sandwich or a pastry, perhaps chatting with another coworker — wonderful.

For the first few weeks operations are in a soft opening phase as new staff are trained and the cafe undergoes a face lift… including a beautiful mural being painted by Helena Rae (@raehaven). A grand opening party is being organized for Thursday July 25. Throughout the day an array of small bites and fresh brewed coffee will be offered to all guests. Hours will be extended until 6:30pm, and some extra treats will be rolled out after 3pm including toast bar sliders and espresso drink shooters.

Hidden Fortress Coffee has been searching for a better location for a few years, since it became obvious that customers lost throughout the Covid Pandemic were not coming back to their Watsonville location. Relocating the entire business was even considered. The good news is the new location requires a support kitchen—which the Watsonville location has—so if the new spot is successful it will keep the Watsonville spot open too. 

Amelia and her husband Patrick started Hidden Fortress Coffee at their small farm in north Monterey county in 2013. Amelia has been roasting coffee since 2001, starting as a home roaster when the home brew supply business she managed added a home coffee roasting section. A lifetime coffee enthusiast, Amelia has been passionate about coffee and has been hooked on roasting since her very first batch.

As a women owned small business Amelia pays extra attention to the circumstances of women in the coffee industry. For the specialty coffee industry, from farmer to roaster the ownership of coffee businesses is about 75% male, while the workforce is over 60% female. Hidden Fortress devotes at least 30% of the coffee buying budget for coffee grown by women owned farms. Coffee income can empower women to invest in their communities and create better opportunities for their families. 


Cruzio Got a Grant. What That Means for You

Map showing extent of Equal Access Summits to Sea, Cruzio's grant-funded network: area extends from Half Moon Bay and the Peninsula south of San Francisco, through the Santa Cruz Mountains, through Watsonville and Salinas, down to Monterey

Cruzio’s independent network will be enhanced in the purple area — “from summits to sea”

For over a decade, Cruzio has been building new infrastructure to get badly-needed, reliable high-speed internet to rural, low income, and just plain forgotten parts of our coastal (and mountainous) region.

The State of California has recognized the work we do and earlier this year Cruzio was awarded a grant — $5.65 million! — to extend our network to some of the areas most in need.

If you’re already a Cruzio customer, you may be wondering, that’s great, but how does that help me? 

First of all, some of our current subscribers live or work in the areas covered directly by the grant. There could be a dramatic increase in the availability of high speed connections in your neighborhood. 

Even if you’re not directly affected, this could make a difference to people you know, or love, or work with. 

A better connection could make the difference between shlepping to an office or working from home. Or no longer struggling to maintain a connection on a video call.

And our grant has benefits that will reach everybody, even those who won’t get new services.

Basically, networks thrive on the number of nodes and the quality of all the infrastructure in the nodes and paths. The grant will mean that our backbone will be stronger and our capacity and redundant paths will increase. It will be an easier network to maintain and a faster one overall. We look forward to providing everyone on our network with increasingly better service!

Cruzio Rides the Giant Dipper (and More)

At the end of June Cruzio took a well-deserved break and visited the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. It was a beautiful day, sunny but not hot (we’re on the California Coast, after all) and there were a lot of smiles. Please enjoy the photos with us!

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk at Sunset

Photo by Robert Gilwee

Santa Cruz beach

Cruzio Internet staff photo

Photos by Robert Gilwee, Peggy Dolgenos, Jesus Lopez, Adia Schamber, and Jay Miner 

Federal Internet Subsidies are Gone — But We’re Still Helping

Yuriana Sotelo and her sister Jacqueline

Students benefit from good internet at a center in Pajaro Valley

Cruzio’s goal is to get reliable, high-speed internet to everyone in our community, regardless of geography or income — but we’re very aware of two main barriers to internet access.

  • The first is infrastructure. If you’re not near a strong existing network, chances are you won’t be able to get good internet at a reasonable price.
  • The second barrier is affordability. Internet prices can be high, especially when there’s only one ISP in your area.
To address infrastructure, the Biden administration included broadband grants in their Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the State of California has contributed, too.


But it needs to be affordable

To ease the price barrier, the same bill established the Affordable Connectivity Program, or ACP, in 2021. Eligible people received $30/month to help them pay for internet.


The ACP allowed Cruzio and other ISPs to serve more people. But this year, the ACP funds ran out and a dysfunctional Congress failed to renew it.


Congress’s failure to renew the ACP program meant that suddenly, thousands of local households lost federal help and, in many cases, cannot afford internet in their homes.

We’re trying to cover the sudden difference

Losing internet access is a serious issue! So Cruzio has gone back to the Equal Access program we started before the feds stepped in. We pull together local philanthropy, schools, and local governments to help us get good connections to people’s homes.

If you were affected by the loss of ACP, we already contacted you with lower-than-standard prices. We’ll sustain those as long as we can. In the long run, a competitive market which doesn’t need big infrastructure improvements will work better than subsidies keep prices low. But until that situation exists, we’ll be looking for any help we can find.

As always, here’s the link to add a small payment each month to your Cruzio bill! We send 100% of that money to Equal Access where it’s put to good use.

SCLU Takes the Win at the Memorial Day Surf Contest


The Santa Cruz Longboard Union (SCLU) takes the victory at the 38th Annual Memorial Day Club Invitational, held at Steamer Lane over Memorial Day weekend!

The Union’s Nohemi Kawasaki triumphed in the Women’s age 20-29 category, while Aylana Zanville dominated the Masters Women’s age 40-49 division. Chase Larue secured victory in the Senior Men’s 30-39 age group, followed by Matt Collins in the Masters Men’s 40-49 age group. Frosty Hesson excelled in the Grand Legends 70 and older category, and Leechy Surfboards emerged victorious in the Shapers division. Their collective efforts led to the club’s impressive total of 2,300 points!

This event is more than just a surf contest; it’s a symbol of community spirit and support for local nonprofits benefiting children. As the longest-running longboard contest in the US, it brings together surf enthusiasts from far and wide to enjoy the thrill of the waves while contributing to a worthy cause. This year, Cruzio was honored to provide free WiFi connectivity throughout the event, ensuring that the judges booth ran smoothly and that organizers & attendees could stream the contest and share their experiences in real-time, further amplifying the event’s reach and impact.Cruzio Installation

At Cruzio, we understand the importance of supporting events that unite our community and make a positive difference. By contributing our services to the 38th Annual Memorial Day Club Invitational, we enhanced the overall experience for attendees while also playing a part in the larger effort to support local nonprofits. We are proud to have contributed to another successful year of the Invitational, and are reminded of the power of coming together to make a difference. Cruzio looks forward to continuing our support for future events that uplift and enrich our community.

“Thanks for being a sponsor of the 38th annual Memorial Club Invitational surf contest. Your whole crew was EPIC. Our team was stoked at how easy you made it for us! The Wifi was flawless!!”  -SCLU


Equal Access in Watsonville, CA

May is Affordable Housing Month!
Tabasa Gardens

Cruzio provides reliable high-speed internet to the Tabasa Gardens housing complex

Tabasa Gardens Housing Complex

On May 3, 2024, Eden Housing Introduced Tabasa Gardens: Where Community, Sustainability, and Connectivity Thrive! Nestled along Freedom Boulevard, just a mile from downtown Watsonville, this new apartment community is a beacon of inclusivity, serving residents across all income levels. 

The neighborhood is designed to accommodate individuals or families with incomes ranging from 25 to 50% of the median income in the area, which translates to annual earnings of $28,000 to $56,000 for a household of two people. Half the units have been reserved for farmworkers, and six units for people who’ve been experiencing homelessness.

Additionally, with solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, and dedicated bike parking, Tabasa Gardens is Green Point Rated certified.

With a commitment to bridging the digital gap, Cruzio is thrilled to partner with Eden Housing to offer discounted in-unit gigabit WiFi for all. 

We feel proud to be able to contribute. Equal Access is a partnership of Cruzio, local community institutions, and local philanthropists. It’s supported by many of our customers (thank you!) and other local donors who know how important quality internet is to every person. It’s part of treating people with dignity.

Every time we can contribute to the well-being of our community, we are going to try. Each piece may be small, and sometimes we can all feel pretty overwhelmed by the difficulty of curing our local problems. But the only way to tackle big problems is to take the first steps. This housing meets a deep and obvious need. We hope it will prove helpful and we’re delighted to play a part.You can help! Make a donation to the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County Equal Access fund. Or just add a small amount to your monthly Cruzio bill, and we will send it to the fund. Equal Access helps seniors and disabled people access health and social services, children get a better shot at online schoolwork, people looking for jobs find opportunities, and much more. Because we add our own contribution, Cruzio can make a small amount of money go a long way.


Cruzio Receives State Grant for Equal Access Summits to the Sea Project

On February 15th, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved Resolution T-17810, giving the green light to Cruzio’s Equal Access Summits to the Sea (EAS2C) grant proposal.

EAS2C is a game-changer, bringing high-speed connectivity to large areas of San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and Monterey Counties where internet service is inadequate. Many folks in these rural and remote regions have been left behind, dealing with outdated copper networks and limited internet options that are both scarce and pricey. Cruzio came up with an economical plan to address the problem, and the State of California has approved and will fund some of the work.

Using state-of-the-art fixed wireless hardware, Cruzio will rapidly deploy gigabit broadband to thousands of locations in this under-served region. And EAS2C’s middle-mile infrastructure is “open access,” meaning other ISPs can hop on board to offer speedier, more reliable services to residents across the Central Coast. The network will lighten the load on smaller providers, paving the way for fairer prices and better service for all.

And it’s not just about binge-watching Netflix and making Zoom calls. In rural areas like these, reliable internet is a lifeline, especially when it comes to public safety. That’s why Cruzio has partnered with the AlertWildfire consortium to install internet-connected cameras along the network, keeping an eye out for wildfires and helping keep communities safe.

EAS2C project area

EAS2C project area

For the last few years, Cruzio has worked with local school districts, municipalities, and non-profit partners to provide subsidized internet to low-income families through our Equal Access initiative. The populations are diverse, including everyone from recent immigrants in crowded farmworker communities to families who’ve lived in isolated mountain homes for many generations.

Cruzio’s mission is to provide every household with the same level of service that we make available to our more urban customers. Recent advances in fixed wireless technology, matched with Cruzio’s familiarity with the area, are making that mission a reality.

“Our region has a problem.” James Hackett, COO at Cruzio, explained. “We’ve got rural communities, farmers, low-income communities out here. Then just a hop away we’ve got Silicon Valley, high-tech and bustling. It’s quite the gap. But getting reliable internet out here? Not so easy with our geography. And that digital divide? It’s real, making life harder for folks. With the Summits to the Sea project we’re working to level the playing field and give everyone a fair shot.”

This project represents a generational leap forward in broadband access, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of concerned community groups and elected officials. Big thanks to Representatives Jimmy Panetta and Anna Eshoo, State Senator John Laird, State Assemblyman Robert Rivas, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, Monterey County Supervisors Chris Lopez, Mary Adams, and Luis Alejo, as well as the Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Santa Clara Offices of Education, the Central Coast Broadband Consortium, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, and many others. We especially want to recognize the incredible work being done by Cruzio’s growing team of all-local employees, many of whom have been with us for decades. It’s been a team effort, and fast, affordable internet is going to make a world of difference for folks across the region.