CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) -- In a world before COVID-19, businesses like Brendalyn Simsuangco's Leaf-It-B, an islander catering company out of Chula Vista, operated alone, but in the blink of an eye everything changed.
"My calendar was packed and then getting everything from, 'Oh, we have to cancel, we don't know what's going on,’ hit the heart,” said Simsuangco.
That's when smaller businesses, including Simsuangco's, relied heavily on support from their communities and in some cases, their neighboring companies.
"We banded together because the only way small businesses survived is through collaborating and through our communities, so that strengthened our bond," Simsaungco explained.
Simsuangco was working in a commercial kitchen with the owners of desserts focused Sweetstruck, and appetizer caterers SD Charcuterie, when COVID-19 shut its doors.
"We really needed a place where we could have our consultations and meet people because coffee shops were closed, parks were closed, and there was no other way to elevate our business other than get our space,” said Simsuangco.
The trio of business owners banded together to open an eye-catching, modern space in the middle of downtown Chula Vista. The ladies described it as a one-stop shop offering catering and decor services. They also rent it out for small private events, an option people opt for since the pandemic.
"We encourage community classes. We have candlemakers that have their businesses to come teach, or cooking classes, book signings,” said Simsuangco.
They said there were a lot of unknowns this past year, but, according to Simsuangco, one thing was for certain among the South Bay entrepreneurs: "It was COVID driven, if you will, how our collaborative efforts came about but it's that bond and partnership that got us through."