How our local business community has managed in the wake of COVID-19

Photos By Noushin Nourizadeh

It has been a year since we first heard the words “coronavirus” and COVID-19. Since then, many area businesses have faced closures, and all have had to reinvent themselves in a variety of ways. Through it all, we’ve been in close touch with our loyal advertisers. Many have repeatedly faced forced closures and adapted to stringent guidelines, while others have seen growth in surprising ways. We’re honored to share some of their stories and words of encouragement with you.

Owner, Satori Designs

“I have focused on keeping my overhead low and staying true to our essence with a more casual version of artful eclectic clothing. One of the most fulfilling parts of my job was the work I do with charities and giving back to the community. With the cancellation of events, closures, and travel restrictions, that part of my business ceased to exist. Instead, I have become more engaged with my customers through social media and eblasts. I also offer private shopping appointments, virtual store tours, free shipping, and curbside pickup. I believe that the human spirit is resilient, and hope is the driving force that keeps us going. I trust that we will get through this and come out stronger.”

Roya Parviz at Satori Designs
Roya Parviz at Satori Designs

Owners, San Diego Golf Carts

“We are very fortunate to be deemed an essential business. While our event rental business is down, our new and used golf cart sales have been up. A lot of families have been forced to cancel their vacations, so getting a golf cart for the family has been a popular option. Our biggest challenge is the extra expense, time, and care needed to comply with the CDC safety requirements and making sure our customers know we are still here for them while we practice the new safety measures. It has been a major business change and we had to adapt, but we have a great team. As a business owner, you have to take it like other unknowns in life: learn from it and have a positive attitude.”

Robert Mackey & Fracesca Canales at San Diego Golf Carts Sales and Rentals
Robert Mackey & Fracesca Canales at San Diego Golf Carts Sales and Rentals

Owners, Passion Fine Jewelry

“Last March, the unknowing of how things were going to play out and what we would be allowed to do was really worrying. But once we made a couple of sales online, we could see that there was light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve been in business for ten years now, and we’re fortunate to have a strong online presence and many loyal clients whom we cherish. Our clients still have birthdays, anniversaries, and babies being born. These are events they want to celebrate—now, in fact, more than ever. Our products are essential in their own way because they celebrate love, and love has not been cancelled.”

Janna and Tim Jackson at  Passion Fine Jewelry
Janna and Tim Jackson at Passion Fine Jewelry

Owner, Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps

“We are among the fortunate. The antique map business and online business in general have seen a significant upswing in activity. The travel, dining, and social restrictions of the pandemic have resulted in significant interest in hobbies which can be pursued online. The biggest challenge has been buying new inventory. I normally exhibit and make buying trips in London, Paris, Rome, New York, Miami, and San Francisco each year. The pandemic has completely eliminated important buying avenues. But, obviously, these are nice problems to have. We’ve been very fortunate.”

Owner, The Faded Awning

“I’ve never had to deal with anything even remotely like this. Our biggest challenge was to stay afloat and I’m ever so grateful to our wonderful customers who, from the very beginning, encouraged us to keep plugging away. We have been managing each day with acceptance, caution, and hope for the future. With each setback we have had to rethink our approach to surviving. We realized that we’re stronger than we thought we were. If I were to offer advice to other business owners, I’d say, ‘Try not to overwhelm yourself. Just keep going, stay strong, and keep thinking of little ways to make things better.’”

Cathy Allen at The Faded Awning
Cathy Allen at The Faded Awning

Owner, Blue Apparel

“At the start of the pandemic, I collaborated with two social influencers who wanted to help market my merchandise online. They promoted items offering their followers discount codes and built a nice following from which I built my email list. In the store, I’ve seen an increase in local business. Longtime residents who never stopped in before have become loyal, return customers. I think it helps to have a positive attitude. We can only do so much with what’s getting thrown at us. We have to just persevere and continue selling in the store and online. For now, I’m planning month-to-month and hoping for a brighter spring.”

Gaby Guevara at Blue Apparel
Gaby Guevara at Blue Apparel

Owner, CoCo Rose

“Back in the early days when we were first advised to wear masks, I had some made in Bali where our clothing line is made. Since all of our shops were closed, we set up a card table on Neptune Avenue in Encinitas and sold them to passersby. All proceeds from our sales went back to our makers in Bali, to help them survive. In May, I rolled up my sleeves and started working in the Carlsbad store. It was the first time I’d actually worked in one of my shops, and I fell back in love with the concept I created. My favorite words of wisdom are: ‘Dream big, plan well, work hard, smile always, and good things will happen.’”

Owner, Un Bacio

“I’m so thankful that my landlord has worked with me because it has helped me tremendously. When possible, we’ve managed some small successful events in the shop and in local restaurants, but business has been down considerably. We’re just consistently trying to stay in touch with our customers and keep them updated on promotions and new merchandise. It’s important for them to dress up—even when they’re staying at home—because it makes them feel good! As a business owner, it’s important to change things up and stay positive about everything. Every day, I am thankful for every sale, and for my customers who have been so understanding.” 

Eve Faucett at Un Bacio
Eve Faucett at Un Bacio

Owner, The Daniels Group

“Low inventory and low interest rates have played a big role in the success of the real estate industry this year. Actually, it has been one of the best in my 45-year career of selling real estate, but it has had its share of challenges. The biggest for me was the change in protocol when meeting with buyers and showing them properties. Since agents can’t visit new listings and go on weekly broker tours, most of the time I’m showing property that I have not been inside. Thankfully, my sellers appreciate our degree of protective measures, and we have continued selling their properties in record time. For me, being present to any and all potential clients is paramount.”