New businesses open in Escondido during pandemic

Posted at 4:46 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 19:47:02-05

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV)- While many business owners were forced to make the painful decision to shut down during the pandemic, some still took the risk of opening for the first time.

Samantha and Weston Nawrocki weren’t going to let the COVID-19 pandemic stop their goal of opening a new café locally.

“For coffee, the great thing is most people treat it even non-pandemic as a to go item,” said Weston Nawrocki.

The couple has a coffee shop and roasting location in Rancho Bernardo, but their new business is up and running in their own city, Escondido, just six blocks away from their home.

Manzanita Roasting Company opened Friday inside The Grand, which is home to the historic Ritz Theater, now newly renovated.

“I’ve been a resident since I was a kid,” said Samantha Nawrocki. “I always drove by and said ‘I wish something would go in there’ and now we’re in there.”

The City of Escondido shut down a couple of lanes on Grand Avenue and helped businesses transition to provide outdoor services under the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Now, more new businesses are opening on busy Grand Avenue.

“We have Daydream, which is a lovely gift store, we also have Off The Grid Surplus, let’s say you’re an off-road enthusiast of the jeep crowd, that’s definitely going to be your place,” said Amber Tarrac, the Deputy Director of Economic Development for the City of Escondido. “We also have Good Omen Mead, a meadery which is amazing stuff to try.”

Tony Pepperoni Pizzeria and Barrel republic are currently still under construction, but Tarrac said they should be opening on Grand Avenue sometime soon, although a specific date is not clear.

“We’re really excited about them, they’ve been under construction for a while,” she said.

Tarrac said it’s not just Grand Avenue doing well with new businesses; from March 1st through November 23rd, Tarrac said hundreds of new businesses opened across the city.

“We’ve had 696 new businesses; these are new permanent, in city businesses,” she said. “The bulk of those businesses are actually home occupations, so we’ve had quite a few folks that have decided to become entrepreneurs and start different businesses out of their home. We also had a number of retailers and restaurants open up.”

The Nawrocki’s say they were able to hire ten new employees right before the holidays. For them, it’s the positivity, help from the city, outpouring of local support, and the love of coffee that’s gotten them through this year.

“I feel like there’s more people kind of walking around and excited to support small business,” said Samantha Nawrocki. “We come down here to grand avenue and support local businesses, so it’s really great to be a part of that.”

Businesses in historic downtown Escondido will be participating in Small Business Saturday on the 28th, in an effort to get more people to shop local.
Discounts and bonuses may be offered at some locations.

The City of Escondido is helping small businesses with outdoor moves; to find out more, click here.
Complimentary fencing is also available for businesses that want to move services outdoors. Tarrac said business owners can submit an order for a limited supply of fencing by emailing