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South Bay Facebook group celebrates 4 years of supporting local businesses

Posted at 11:26 PM, Mar 13, 2024

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — A Facebook group created at the start of the pandemic is now celebrating its fourth anniversary and has transformed into a support system for small businesses in the South Bay.

Katia Callahan created the group four years ago today. The group is called "Eastlake Food to Go!" and was opened just as the world was shutting down at the start of the pandemic.

The group was meant to support local restaurants so people could share who was open or closed or doing takeout or delivery. It became a place to keep each other informed as they navigated a back-and-forth of shutdowns and reopenings.

"So, it was just becoming more informative: This restaurant is open, this place is open, now we’re opening from this time to this time," said Callahan.

Four years later, the group grew exponentially, from about ten members to close to 25,000.

On Wednesday, members of the group celebrated its four-year anniversary at El Pollo Grill, another popular South Bay staple.

When pandemic restrictions were lifted for good, group members voted to keep it open, transforming it into a place where business owners can promote their businesses.

One of those business owners is Christina Nieto, who, with Katia’s encouragement, took the leap and started her catering business, Tacos Varios La Rosa.

"It just kind of gave me that big push to just do what I needed to do to get my family ahead to start my business," Nieto said.

Nieto's business is booming; she says 60% to 70% of her catering jobs come from the group.

Another business owner who uses the group is Diana Tapiz of Tres Fuegos Cocina. She was the first business in the county recognized as a home kitchen.

The group members went to the board of supervisors to speak in support of the home kitchen program, which was first a pilot program and then made permanent earlier this year.

Callahan is proud that the group is still going strong. It supports small business owners, holds community fundraisers and even plans a dream quinceanera for a teen fighting terminal brain cancer.

If you'd like to join the group, click here.