Local businesses try to stay afloat in COVID-19 pandemic

Scott Cacheleur, Reporter

2020 has been a rough year for local businesses. Throughout San Luis Obispo county, small business owners have had to make tough decisions based on profits, employees, and overhead, as well as navigate the strict regulations put out by the county and the state due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Mel Quake, a manager at Pismo Bowl, has had to make some of these difficult decisions regarding her staff. 

“We have had to reduce our hours, and let a few employees go,” said Quake. 

The business also had to put a hold on all bowling activities due to strict COVID-19 regulations.

“Obviously, bowling is not going. And that starts hurting our income a lot… there are no beer sales now because people usually drink beer when they bowl,” said Quake.

The managers and staff hope that some of these COVID-19 impacts will not affect the local institution in the long run.

“We did start a gofundme. It’s kind of like a last-ditch effort for emergency cases. The reasoning was we wanted to ask for some help before we absolutely needed it,” mentioned Quake.

“As far as we can be here, if we can open bowling by next spring, we’ll be okay,” said the managers in regards to their reopening plan. 

Other businesses along the Pismo strip have maintained success. Across the street is another business that has had its fair share of problems.

Sarah Paddak, the owner of Chipwrecked, explained, “It’s always been a little bit of a struggle because [Chipwrecked] is unique and different. We have a pretty strong following of people. You know, you have your regulars, but they may be regulars that you only see once a year.” 

The opening of the Pismo Pier and the surrounding area could have a positive impact on some of these businesses that have been hit hard.

“I really, really didn’t know if we would survive. And then once we got the outdoor dining you’re sitting in right now, it’s now become a destination,” Paddack began. “Normally in October, we might see a couple of locals in the day, maybe one visitor. We probably, today alone, can triple the amount of business we did the same day last year… so it’s been wild on both sides. We have had days that were devastatingly awful and then we had some just ridiculously busy at the start of [COVID-19].”

It is well known that the majority of people are struggling to some degree during quarantine and the Coronavirus epidemic. Tough decisions are made every day for the benefit of the community. Hopefully, the tough decisions don’t consist of closing for good, and hopefully enough local support can help local businesses stay afloat.

Please support your local businesses, even if you’re just buying a small thing like ice cream or soda, every sale helps them stay open another day.

Scott Cacheleur