From bakery to bocce and brews,
San Marcos savors Katz’ service
By Catherine Harper
The jump from owning one successful small business to two is quite a feat, as any business owner will tell you. For Chase Katz — a Texas State University alum and co-owner, with his brother Seth, of both Zelick’s and Dos Gatos Kolache Bakery in San Marcos — business experience and family support has taken him leaps and bounds through his professional ambitions and beyond.
Katz graduated from Texas State in 2009 with a degree in general studies that focused on business administration, mass communication and construction. These three minors built upon his entrepreneurial foundation, Katz says, but not necessarily by design.
Katz started out as a biology major at Texas State to follow in his parents’ footsteps as optometrists, yet soon found that his interests were elsewhere. In finding his dream of running his own business, Katz says his parents were his biggest inspiration and support.
“My parents both owned and operated their own optometry practices for 30 years, and are instrumental to our success, ” Katz says. “I learned through the years what employers and small business owners have as daily obstacles.”
With his parents’ hardworking example, Katz began to take on business pursuits including a motorcycle repair business on eBay and a mobile car wash. This work gave him hands-on business experience and knowledge of different industries, with a hope to start his own brick-and-mortar business one day.
Chase and his brother Seth, who graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a degree in restaurants and hospitality, opened Dos Gatos Bakery in 2009 on N. LBJ Dr. F0cusing on kolaches and baked goods, the Katz brothers went into the bakery full force, waking up at 3:30 a.m. every day to start baking for the morning crowd. Their efforts have paid off however, making Dos Gatos one of the top-reviewed eateries in the area.
For Katz, starting the bakery was a difficult yet driven pursuit that inspired him to take on other ventures.
“My experience at the kolache shop determined if I could do it,” Katz says. ”It made me very dedicated. My brother and I had other ideas for businesses when we opened the shop, and were brewing our idea for Zelick’s after Dos Gatos took off.”
In May, the Katz brothers opened Zelick’s, a casual bar fashioned from a 1930s-era gas station. According to Katz, the open space of the structure inspired the renovation and design, which he completed with the help of his family. They converted the building to an open-air bar with seating and flat screen TVs; games like washer toss, horse shoes and bocce fill the outdoor spaces, surrounded by benches and Adirondack chairs.
With an eye for offering something different that would attract local crowds, Katz says Zelick’s provides a more conversational and relaxed atmosphere than others in San Marcos.
“I took my business plans from San Marcos and what it was lacking,” Katz says. “For Zelick’s we saw that a lot of bars didn’t have outside space and we wanted to change that. We were striving to have an all-around demographic.”
With a wealth of experience in small businesses under his belt from Dos Gatos and Zelick’s, Katz says he still learns new lessons every day.
“There’s all kinds of things every day that I have to work on. I’m always learning something,” Katz says. “The bottom line is you never know what to expect, but dedication is so important. It means a lot to your business.”