Four Decades of Beach Living and Working

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

June 16, 2023

Dale Kaiser holds a photo of he and daughter Averie sitting in the real estate office he opened in 1992.

For some four decades, he’s been a fixture in Cayucos, as a surfer, businessman, and community supporter and has also played a large role in growing the local real estate industry.

Dale Kaiser of Dale Kaiser Real Estate recently celebrated his 40th anniversary in business, where he sells overwhelmingly homes and properties inside the “Town that Time Forgot.”

Kaiser sat down with a reporter and reminisced about his time in Cayucos, a place he dearly loves and cherishes, almost as much as his teenage daughter.

He was born and raised in Fresno, he says. He worked in the Ag industry throughout his time growing up, at cotton gins around the San Joaquin Valley. 

He came here in the 1970s to attend Cal Poly where he studied Ag business of all things.

He landed in Cayucos where he became “a charter member of the Cayucos Garage Dwellers Association,” he laughs. That was a bunch of locals — plus Dale — who lived in people’s garage apartments. Kaiser lived in nine different ones, he says, boasting that he “lived in more garages than anyone in the crew.” Mainly though, they bonded over surfing.

A couple of the CGDA crew started the Dolphin Shirt Co., in one of those garages, he recalls, and “it coagulated from there. We were all surfers and met on the beach. Dolphin made us T-shirts.” Dolphin Shirt Co., has gone on to worldwide fame and business. Another member was sculptor Dale Evers.

“I learned how to surf in Cayucos,” he laughs. “I can say that I am one of the Top-25 surfers from Fresno.”

Eventually, Kaiser said he got a 1951 Chevy truck and then a camper shell and lived a nomadic life, parking in an alley behind the real estate office of retired attorney, Hugo Pearson, who had come to town from Hanford. It was next door to Doc’s Dance Hall, he says.

No matter how tough those early days were, Kaiser says he was “bound and determined not to go back to Fresno.” 

He was working at Hearst Castle picking up trash and cleaning toilets. “Hugo saw how hard I was working,” Kaiser says, “and let me sleep on the couch in his office. I was on that couch for seven years.”

While at the Castle, “I got a job working at the base security gate.” That was when his life changed.

One day he met Rosalie Hearst of the Hearst Family and former Palm Springs Mayor, Frank Bogert, who took a shine to the gregarious Kaiser. “They introduced me to Tom Hopkins, who was the sales trainer for Coldwell Banker.” 

Hopkins was the No. 1 real estate salesman in California and according to his website, has coached some 5 million real estate professionals over the years. “Tom wrote the book on sales training,” says Kaiser. “He became a close friend of mine. I started to go to his seminars and put together my campaign to become successful in real estate.”

He decided to concentrate in Cayucos though in the early 1980s that’s not what was selling at the time. “Back then,” he says, “all the action was in Los Osos.”

He eventually saved enough money to buy three houses, he recalls, “mortgaged to the hilt.” In 1990 the first of now three recessions hit and “everything went into the toilet.”

He started his own real estate business in 1992 in the same office he occupies to this day at 36 N. Ocean Ave. He took on a partner in 2011 — Megan Sanchez.

And now, 40 years after he got his start, he has a crew that he says is top notch. Joining Kaiser and Sanchez are Gail Riley and Joleen Offill, all four are real estate brokers, he explains.

“I don’t know what they’re doing working with me,” he laughs. “They’re stellar people, with integrity and honesty, it’s humbling to be around. 

“Dale Kaiser Real Estate now is a team of extremely competent professionals with the highest degree of integrity. I’m blown away and grateful to be associated with these folks that are the best in the business.”

So how much has Cayucos changed since the garage dwelling days? “People say Cayucos has changed so much, but I say compared to what? Show me a beach town that’s changed less.”

He estimates that 80 percent of all the homes he’s sold were inside Cayucos with 20% scattered from San Simeon to Los Osos. 

He’s sold numerous homes more than once and admits to sometimes walking into a home and suffering deja vu. 

“I’ve sold just over a thousand homes in a 40-year career,” Kaiser says. He’s also done about 20 development projects, mostly in the 1990s. He built his last house on Studio Drive, which he now lives in, in 2001. His daughter, Averie, was born there in 2008. 

“She was born in my house,” he says, “on the beach. She’s a Cayucos local.”

Averie, who is now a sophomore at Morro Bay High, went to Cayucos Elementary through eighth grade. He talks about her with some reverence. He lists off — She’s a lifeguard, works at the Sea Shanty, coaches Junior Lifeguards and will be doing Varsity cheer/stunt next year.

Over the years he’s been a big supporter of local causes including the Cayucos Land Conservancy, the Chamber of Commerce, Morro Bay National Estuary Program, Rotary Club, Cayucos Elementary, Morro Bay High, the Estero Bay Kindness Coalition, and even adopted a stretch of Old Creek Road that he keeps tidy.

He also supports the Cayucos Lioness Club, in particular their Mutt Mitt Program that supplies free dog-poop bags at over two dozen beach access points in Cayucos. In a year, they go through some 175,000 poop bags and Kaiser says he sponsors eight stations.

“I have two great Danes,” he says. “So I use a lot of the bags.” Sometimes it takes four bags to clean up one dog’s mess.

He feels blessed for this life he’s been able to have and while the garage dwelling days are far behind him, Cayucos is in his soul.

“I’m so grateful to wake up every day on the Central Coast.”

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