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Callisch sets up shoe shop in SLO

The smell of coconut oil and leather has replaced the smell of rarely washed physical education (P.E.) clothes. Former FC P.E. and Video Productions teacher Scott Callisch left the locker room in October, 2011, for Flip Flop Shops in San Luis Obispo (SLO), CA, opening his new venture, Feb. 29.

The shop carries over 2,000 pairs of shoes in downtown SLO, ranging in price from $13-$100. Since his shop is in close proximity to the beach, its appeal stretches from college students to tourists.

“The most difficult part is learning about business and all the details that have to be attended to daily,” Callisch said. “Coming from the teaching world for so many years, I have had to learn on the fly.”

The shop will have four college-aged employees who will manage the business while Callisch returns home from time-to-time. His main concern with launching the store is retaining a steady flow of customers.

“Starting a business in this economy is not that difficult but maintaining one will be the challenge,” Callisch said. “But if you can’t sell flip-flops in SLO, you can’t sell them anywhere.”

As Callisch continues to assimilate into the SLO atmosphere, he recognizes some difficulties of adjusting to a new city.

“As far as SLO goes, it is a different culture,” Callisch said. “There are some unusual characters around town. Right now I am the new guy. Some are glad to have us here and some not so much.”

Journalism adviser Greg Stobbe worked in close communication with Callisch and his video productions class for 19 years. With Callisch’s absence, Stobbe notes his lighthearted spirit.

“While I miss his passion and enthusiasm with the students, I’m envious of his new venture and ability to live at the beach,” Stobbe said. “I loved his creativity and ability to see things differently that others lack. He had this ability to see things like in a third way that brought to life a part of all of us that we normally don’t get to see. I miss him. ”

Because Callisch’s family remains stationed in Fresno, he has faced the struggle of balancing the shop and home life. Though the transition has been challenging, he remains confident in his decision, he says.

“The family situation was the main concern in the process,” Callisch said. “My wife and I talked and prayed and we believe God opened this door so we believe He will see us through. I will be adjusting my schedule so I can be home to watch my son Steve play volleyball.”

After 28 years of teaching, Callisch admits he still retains a few nostalgic feelings concerning FC.

“The thing I miss most about FC is the daily interaction with the kids,” Callisch said. “Giving them a hard time, making movies, hassling Stobbe and narrating P.E. classes.”

After two years in Callisch’s Video Productions class, Jordan Boudreau,’13, believes this new undertaking will be a perfect fit for Callisch’s personality.

“I think that it is the ultimate job for Callisch because he fits the beach-bum stereotype perfectly,” Boudreau said. “I think that will be a great job for him just because it’s so chill and SLO county has great winter. It’s just a sweet place to live.”

For Callisch, the choice to leave FC was influenced by a desire for a new endeavor and opportunity to save money for his kid’s education.

“I just wanted to try something different before I died, and to make enough money to send my kids to college,” Callisch said.

Though the opening failed to raise Callisch’s goal of $1 million, he still encourages students to drop by and visit.

“The opening was great, but I’m not doing it [a grand opening] again,” Callisch said. “Everyone is invited to come on by and maybe get 10 percent off with your student ID.”

The Flip Flop Shops is located at 858 Higuera St, San Luis Obisbo next to Coldstone, across from Chipotle.

For more information, read the Oct. 25, 2011 article, Callisch reflects on teaching experiences. For more features, read the March 8 article, Home economics dedicates second semester to crafts.

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