We are pleased to announce the Grand Marshalls of our 2024 Irish Day parade, Jan and Patty Schulz, owners and founders of The Spice Tin.

Jan and Patty moved to Calaveras County in 1971 with their 3-month-old daughter Amy for Jan’s teaching job at Bret Harte High School. When trying to decide where to live Patty, who grew up in Stockton, knew the perfect cute town named Murphys. Green fields and cow bells became their picturesque backyard and where they have called home for the past 53 years. Their one-bedroom house slowly became a four-bedroom home over the years as they welcomed daughters Anna and Emily. “It’s just a great place to raise three daughters here and just a great community.”

Jan taught English and became Bret Harte’s wrestling coach and Patty taught English at Michelson and Avery. As they were nearing retirement, they were looking ahead to what was next. After a visit to a spice store in Chicago with her daughters it was always a dream of Patty’s to open her own spice store. During the recession in 2008 and at the beginning of retirement, they discussed this dream. Patty told Jan, “you know what we are going to do, we are going to open up the spice shop” and Jan replied, “oh sure, we are going to do it when there is a recession”.

Thanks to the friendships they have made in town, the perfect opportunity surfaced. Good friend Tom Tutthill was about to start a remodel on a commercial space and thought of Patty’s dream. The shed had previously been a car repair shop, cat house and an access point for an underground tunnel that runs to the Murphys Historic Hotel. Utilized during Prohibition to access the Murphys Hotel, in more recent years children used to play in the tunnels before it was closed. Patty took one look at the building and said, “this is perfect”, this was the location for her spice store.

Their children were an integral part of the beginning stages of the business. They wanted to see Patty’s dream come true and helped in many ways. Amy, utilizing her MBA, helped create a business plan and their son-in-law, who worked in marketing, helped with the signage. With the support and help of their family and friends The Spice Tin was created.

They opened The Spice Tin on May 30th, 2009, at 457 Algiers Street. Each year on Memorial Day Weekend they celebrate the anniversary of their opening by cooking and serving chicken wings for their supporters. The wings are free, but they ask for donations for Ric Ryan, the Walking Man of Murphys, for his fundraising efforts for UCLA Operation Mend. This Memorial Day Weekend they will be celebrating 15 years in business.

Owning a spice shop is a great compliment to their love of traveling. In fact, they leave for Cuba very soon and will visit farms and homes where they will cook with the locals. They have traveled extensively and taken many cooking classes and have fabulous stories and memories. Turkey, Sri Lanka, Bulgaria, Italy, and France are just some of the countries they have visited. Hard pressed to name a favorite, Patty chose France and Jan chose Bulgaria. Patty reminisces on a previous visit to Turkey staying with a family where the husband spoke English, but the wife and his mother did not. The mother brings in a round knee high table and the mother, wife and Patty sit on the floor at the table. Without being able to communicate through words, they sit and make three Turkish dishes through the love of food. They bring these experiences and different spices from around the world back to the shop to share with those who have the same passion for food.

The Spice Tin is not only full of delightful spices, but Patty and Jan make sure it is fun and full of community spirit. The Spice Tin is staffed with friends who they have known for many years thanks to their jobs at the schools and different community organizations and events. “We’ve never put up a help wanted sign” states Jan. Which is a true testament to the community spirit Jan and Patty love so much about Murphys. They have worked tirelessly on the Bocce courts and fundraising tournaments, roasting chestnuts every year for Murphys Open House, and over the years have been a part of the Murphys Community Club, Murphys Business Association, and Murphys Area Community Tennis Association. Jan was a Murphys Volunteer Firefighter and Patty volunteered many years with the Humane Society. As Patty states, “this community has given back to us way more than we’ve given to it. We both feel so fortunate to be here.”

We are privileged to have Jan and Patty Schulz serve as the 2024 Murphys Irish Day Parade Grand Marshals and thank them for their support and valued service to the Murphys community. Join us for Murphys Irish Day on March 16th, 2024 at 11am to cheer on the Schulz’s and all the other parade entries.