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Teen creates site to help Asian-American businesses

Posted at 5:44 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-29 10:44:39-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Many Asian American business owners continue to struggle during the pandemic, but a North County teen is hoping to help by creating a website to support local restaurants.

"I was hearing a lot of stories about Asians in my community experiencing discrimination during the pandemic," said 17-year-old Kaia Culotta.

The teen said coming from a family of small business owners, she wanted to do something to help.

"I realized that there wasn't an easily accessible, comprehensible list of Asian owned businesses in my community," said Culotta. "So, I saw a need for that."

For weeks, Culotta learned how to code through free programs online to build a website. The "Help Asian Owned Businesses" site has an extensive list of restaurants located around the county.

Culotta said her project sparked the interest of San Diego City Councilmember Chris Cate. He even shared a video promoting the site on social media.

"It is awesome. It's such a neat thing to be doing out of the goodness of her heart," said Joe Kao, owner of R3fresh Juice Bar.

After seeing Cate's video, the small business owner reached out to the teen to thank her for putting the site together.

Kao said his business, like many others, had fewer customers during the pandemic. "We definitely saw a drop in business, but we've stayed open," he said.

Kao applauds Culotta's work and thanks her for thinking of the county's small Asian business owners.