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Meet Amanda Schnitzius of The Avocado Pit in Mission Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Schnitzius.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I came to San Diego as an 18-year-old freshman at SDSU seeking reprieve from the energy sapping heat of the desert, but it was San Diego’s collective laid back and easygoing personality that made me fall in love with this city. After graduating with a degree in Math from SDSU, I had no clue what to do as a career and wasn’t really in a rush to figure it out. I got a job doing payroll, and since then, my career has oscillated between the corporate world and entrepreneurial endeavors. In 2010, I opened up a custom cake bakery and mobile cupcake truck with a friend. We were quite successful and even won Cupcake Wars on the Food Network, but eventually decided to close the business to shift focus to our personal lives. I went back to the corporate world and have been enjoying the security of that kind of job for a few years. However, for me, the security of a corporate job does not outweigh the yearning in my soul to be an entrepreneur. When I’m stressed out, my mental getaway is to dream up business ideas and to let my mind wander with whatever crazy or simple ideas it comes up with. Getting caught up in the day to day grind, I reached a point where I had lost touch with who I want to be, what means most to me, and what defines me. It turns out, I’m just like San Diego – laid back and easygoing – and I want to build a business that is a reflection of this. I plan to do exactly that with this next endeavor, The Avocado Pit, where the simple dream of selling avocados at the beach will come to life. Not only will this be a way for me to reconnect with the work that I love to do, but it will allow locals and tourists alike to have a place to go that combines two of San Diego’s beloved assets – avocados and the ocean.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I suppose everyone’s road is both smooth and bumpy at times, but I recognize that I’ve been luckier than most. I wound up with an incredibly supportive family that has never been anything but encouraging, and I think that has made all the difference. I know everyone wants to hear a good story of overcoming obstacles, but the truth is that all obstacles seem surmountable when you’re surrounded by people that never stop encouraging and supporting you. I will say, however, that the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur is having to rely on others that can wind up being flaky or unprofessional or irresponsible. I strive to always fair in everything I do, and I expect the same from others, but the reality is that so many others don’t operate this way and it can really affect your business. It would be truly amazing to witness what we could achieve if we all helped build each other up instead of trying to get “ahead” at another person’s expense.

The Avocado Pit – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The Avocado Pit is a brand new casual eatery in Mission Beach set to open this Winter. All menu items will feature avocado as the star ingredient so locals and tourists will have somewhere to go that features our county’s unofficial fruit. Best of all, it’s steps from the ocean and steps from the bay! Our company will focus on keeping things casual and sincere and fostering a laid-back atmosphere. Although it will be the first avocado eatery of its kind in the area, the idea isn’t to be gimmicky, but rather to create a staple in the community that will remain for generations.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
There is a quote I like from the book “The Escape Manifesto” that goes, “Often it is easier to inherit external definitions of success than it is to cultivate your own.” I like this quote because it keeps me focused on what matters most to me instead of trying to please others or to build a business that I think others want me to build.

I obviously have financial goals for the business that are markers of success, but perhaps more importantly are my personal goals of happiness. After leaving a stressful corporate job, first order of business is for me to restore my spirit. I want to get back to my true self, which is a person who loves to work and gives her all in all the work she does simply because she wants to. Without meeting this goal, nothing that comes after it will be possible, so this is where my focus will be first. It’ll be an internal marker, but I’ll know when I’ve reached it. We’ll go from there.

There is another quote I like from “The Girl With All The Gifts” by M.R. Carey that goes, “…when your dreams come true, your true has moved. You’ve already stopped being the person who had the dreams, so it feels more like a weird echo of something that already happened to you a long time ago.” I recognize that as time goes on, I change as a person, the business changes, and the community changes, and it’s important to continue to revisit this topic of success and goals to make sure you are adapting and working towards your actual goals, not those of times past.

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