Sara De Luca is the creator and founder of Invita Café, a family-owned Italian-inspired modern coffee bar with locations in Rancho Santa Fe and Carlsbad. De Luca, a San Diego native, founded Invita in 2017 with the goal of bringing Italian coffee culture and hospitality to America. Learn about Sara De Luca…
Hometown: San Diego, CA
First job: So many unofficial jobs as a young teen, but my first official one was Belmonty’s Burgers at Belmont Park. I learned how to count a cash drawer there.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in CA: In the kitchen surrounded by friends, family and good food. Exploring new restaurants, coffee shops or bars. The ocean–anything near the waves to relax, recharge and get the creative juices flowing. All my best ideas come from doing that.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: My business surviving COVID. Not only does it take determination and grit to stick to a small business and make it profitable, but it’s that much harder when it feels like the world is against you. I also took a very strong, unpopular stance and never closed our doors. We served every guest and made their needs our priority regardless of the pushback and negativity we got from others. That was one of the most pressuring and challenging seasons of my life, but we learned the importance of pushing through even when things get hard because we came out of it stronger than ever.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: Keeping a small business alive during a worldwide shutdown. COVID forced me to face the actual reality of potentially watching five years worth of dreaming and building be completely stolen away. Invita still stands today because of the sacrifice of 10 Italian cousins who donated two months of their time to run both shops completely salary free. The struggle, the fight, the discouragement was unmatched, but it taught me there is nothing one cannot face when they are surrounded and supported by family and those who believe in you.
Someone who inspires you and why: There’s a lot of people I look up to because there’s a lot of people to learn from in my life. My grandparents–and the sacrifice they made to leave their country and family in order to give their grandchildren the opportunity to live the American dream–are definitely people who inspire me to strive and grow. But probably, honestly, I look up to my father the most. You can ask anyone…I’m not just saying it because he’s my dad. He carries so much weight, an incredible amount of responsibility, but always remains calm and collected. No matter the heaviness of his schedule he will always stop to hear someone’s needs and make sure the person is being helped the way they deserve. A man of creativity and innovation, operating and executing numerous projects, he never fails to prioritize loving others above himself and everything else. He is the pillar of our family, a leader in our community, and respected by others because of his humility and grace. I hope to grow to follow in his footsteps, to make him proud and carry on his giving spirit and endless accomplishments.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Remain teachable. Life is not meant to be lived alone. The more help you receive the more you can grow. The more you grow the more impact you can make on the world and others.
Favorite quote: “Rise by lifting others.”
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I was homeschooled and loved it!
What makes someone fabulous: Their uniqueness.