ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) — As San Diego County rolls back again into the more-restrictive purple tier, the city of Escondido is coming together to make sure their small businesses survive the newest rollback.
In Escondido, Carol Rogers is involved with the Downtown Business Association and the Chamber of Commerce, plus she also owns Stone and Glass, a glass blowing shop. She said everyone has been feeling the impact for the past eight months, but they’re finding ways to adapt.
For her glass store, she said online sales have been what kept her afloat.
“Our online sales are phenomenal. It’s what’s kept us in business. It is the only thing that’s kept us in business,” said Rogers.
She said she and the organizations she works with have created different plans to help all small businesses. During the summer, they closed down a lane of traffic along the main street and added cement barricades, creating a space for stores to add tables to the sidewalks. Some types of businesses were able to use the space, but others were not.
“What we found is the restaurants did it. I works for the restaurants, but retail is not using the space,” she said, discussing the outdoor sidewalk addition.
In the spirit of unity, they decided to not waste the outdoor space, so Rogers created an art walk that happened Saturday, Nov. 14. Artists and creators were able to move into unused street space and host pop-up shops, giving them business that has been missing since their local Second Saturday stopped in March.
In addition to the stores moving outside and artists popping up for a Saturday afternoon, the community has also stepped up to add life to the cement barricades that block off the outdoor sidewalk space.
Starting in the summer, a few cement blocks were painted by artists, and that has continued. Now, Grand Avenue is lined with multi-colored pieces of art.
“There’s been professional artists, there’s been people that just want to paint, there’s children,” said artist Tristan Pittard, who was working on his cement canvas Saturday.
Pittard said the art is an additional motivator for people to visit the area and support local businesses.
“Art in general affects peoples psyche and public art is important for that because people might not be exposed to art otherwise,” said Pittard.
For Rogers, the combination of the art walk with the painted cement shows the unity of the people, and gives her hope that Escondido will survive another rollback. She said she hopes the art walk will become a monthly event.
“The more that we can do this, we believe the more people will come. This makes people comfortable. We’re outside. We’re far apart. It’s safe,” she said.