Inland Empire women entrepreneurs innovate to survive coronavirus pandemic – San Bernardino Sun

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Khanh Nguyen closed her Riverside and Temecula hair salons 3 times for a complete of six months due to surges in coronavirus circumstances and related working restrictions.

Consequently, enterprise fell 40% this previous yr, she mentioned, at her two Karen Allen Salon & Spa areas.

Nguyen mentioned it might have been worse had she not launched curbside gross sales of hair merchandise throughout closures and launched a service to achieve shopper belief and reduce publicity to the virus when open.

“We known as it specific colour service,” Nguyen mentioned of the latter.

Ladies coming in to paint hair spent quarter-hour within the salon, deciding on a most well-liked colour and having hair colour utilized. Then they drove residence, waited and washed. Earlier than the pandemic, ladies spent two hours within the salon to finish the method, Nguyen mentioned.

Ladies entrepreneurs all through the Inland Empire, like their counterparts throughout the nation, have had innovate to outlive these previous 12 months.

A recent survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce discovered that the pandemic-induced financial downturn has disproportionately affected women-owned companies.

An Related Press report confirmed that American small companies have had an especially rough time. And, in response to the U.S. Small Enterprise Administration, most female entreprenuers own small businesses.

John Husing, chief economist emeritus for the Inland Empire Financial Partnership, mentioned many Inland ladies enterprise house owners work within the client providers sector that features hair salons and nail salons.

“And that a part of the economic system has been terrorized by this downturn,” he mentioned.

Husing mentioned providers corporations misplaced 6,600 jobs from 2019 and 2020, or 14.3% of the full employed, in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the world he tracks.

Feminine entrepreneurs additionally could be discovered within the eating-and-drinking sector, which incorporates eating places, bars and wineries, the place 23,700 jobs — 17.3% — disappeared final yr, he mentioned.

Then there’s the retail sector, which takes in all the things from the small reward or clothes store to the big merchandise retailer. That sector misplaced 11,900 jobs from 2019 to 2020, or 6.6% of all retail jobs, Husing mentioned.

“This doesn’t embrace these ladies who had to surrender their companies simply because they needed to deal with their children,” Husing added.

Lori Paley didn’t have to surrender the Aromatique Pores and skin & Physique Care enterprise in Claremont she has owned since 1998. However Paley mentioned she needed to take up a 60% loss in revenue.

And like Nguyen in Riverside, she needed to adapt to a drastically totally different enterprise local weather.

Paley, an esthetician who gives skincare therapies comparable to facials, mentioned she owns a spa with six therapy rooms connected to a 500-square-foot retail retailer that sells skincare merchandise, make-up, residence decor, jewellery and reward gadgets.

For a lot of the previous yr, Paley was unable to do facials.

“I needed to rely solely on the retail operation,” she mentioned.

And the shop was closed three months.

When the store reopened in June, Paley allowed two prospects in at a time.

“We truly put a sequence throughout the door and hung an indication,” she mentioned. “It had a pleasant message saying, ‘We’re at our capability, we’ll be proper with you.’”

Paley discovered new methods to generate revenue.

She rebuilt her web site. She taught skincare lessons on Zoom. She personally delivered merchandise to prospects’ houses and launched curbside service.

She additionally realized to put in writing functions for federal grants and loans, which compensated for a few of the loss.

“I’ve by no means needed to be so inventive in my life as I’ve needed to be this final yr,” Paley mentioned. “In my youthful days, I used to put on a T-shirt that mentioned, ‘Change is nice.’ I actually needed to stay as much as that.”

Jovanna Rodriguez, who owns and runs Jovi’s Diner in downtown San Bernardino, has needed to stay with continuously altering coronavirus restrictions on restaurant operations.

Rodriguez additionally needed to bounce again from the wreckage looters left her eatery in when a protest in opposition to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody turned violent Might 31.

“I used to be upset. I used to be crying,” Rodriguez mentioned. “There was no entrance door. There was glass all over the place.”

Rodriguez mentioned she had no alternative however to close down.

“We misplaced 70% to 80% of our enterprise,” she mentioned.

However volunteers helped clear up the mess and she or he started to rebuild.

Rodriguez acquired a lift when she was requested to offer meals twice every week for 250 COVID-19 frontline responders. Then the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians named her diner one of 50 businesses to receive $20,000 grants to assist them recuperate from the downturn.

“It’s simply been actually laborious,” Rodriguez mentioned. “However I do need to say that out of all this darkness the group has come collectively.”

Rodriguez, like many feminine entrepreneurs, is greater than a enterprise proprietor.

“I’m a mom,” she mentioned. “I’ve six kids that vary from 17 to 4 years previous. My No. 1 precedence has at all times been my kids.”

Rikki Hubbard, who owns t3 Health in Riverside, is also a mother. She has three adopted kids: a second grader, kindergartner and toddler.

So, when the coronavirus shuttered her health middle final spring, she needed to steadiness discovering new methods to generate revenue with serving to the youngsters do faculty research nearly.

Then Hubbard confronted private challenges. She acquired COVID-19 in December. A couple of days later she had a miscarriage.

“I don’t know if they’re associated or unrelated,” she mentioned. “I simply don’t enable myself to go there. I used to be about 10 weeks alongside.”

Like Nguyen, Paley and Rodriguez, Hubbard needed to innovate.

Hubbard’s health middle, which caters primarily to ladies, was “booming” with peak memberships and sophistication registration when the coronavirus hit, she mentioned. She’s needed to push by way of openings and closures.

“It has been a yo-yo sport,” she mentioned.

Hubbard pivoted to on-line packages. She held lessons within the car parking zone. She helped persuade the Riverside City Council in summer to let fitness center and fitness-center purchasers train in metropolis parks.

“That made it somewhat cooler,” she mentioned.

Now she’s again to holding lessons indoors, socially distanced with a restricted variety of individuals.

“The vaccinations are actually serving to folks really feel secure and cozy to come back again in,” she mentioned. “‘I’m vaccinated and I’m again.’ I’m listening to numerous that.”

A  mom’s nurturing intuition factored into selections Sonya Rozzi and Missy Van Zeyl made for his or her Olive Avenue Market in Redlands, which sells bakery treats, sandwiches, soups, chips, sodas and native distributors’ merchandise comparable to espresso and natural cleaning soap.

“We’re two mothers,” Rozzi mentioned. “You’ve that mother mentality that you just need to maintain your children secure. Not that our workers are our youngsters.”

However they had been decided to maintain employees and prospects secure. So, she mentioned, they closed the market 2 1/2 months final spring, reopening June 7 — the 14th anniversary of their possession of the two,000-square-foot market.

Enterprise has but to totally rebound.

“It’s going to be a sluggish crawl,” Rozzi mentioned. “So long as it’s transferring in the appropriate path, we’ll be OK.”

To date it’s. Enterprise is growing and they’re progressively growing hours. Earlier than the pandemic, they’d two dozen workers. Now they’ve 16.

“We’re about to rent one other baker,” Rozzi mentioned.

Thankfully, the market already had chairs and tables exterior for eating.

“We simply spaced them out somewhat extra to accommodate social distancing,” Rozzi mentioned.

Kisa Puckett, CEO of KP Media TV in Murrieta, based a 500-member group known as Women Business Owners of Riverside County to assist ladies entrepreneurs innovate.

“This group has helped members adapt to a brand new world,” she mentioned.

Puckett, who’s accustomed to working within the digital world, mentioned the group has helped ladies uncover methods to make cash on-line.

“It has created the chance to assume exterior the field, that’s for positive,” she mentioned. “It’s not nearly surviving, it’s about thriving, as a result of there’s a lot alternative on the market.”

Nguyen, proprietor of Karen Allen Salon & Spa, is flourishing as a result of she labored daily even when her salons had been shuttered.

“The considered giving up — I didn’t enable myself to go there,” Nguyen mentioned. “I truly labored 10 instances tougher than once we had been open to strive to determine get by way of this.”



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