As the US economy contracted at a record rate last quarter due to the coronavirus, among those hardest hit have been South Pasadena small businesses.
Citing economic concerns due to the pandemic, John Vandercook will say goodbye to Reimagine Your Home, a wall and covering business in South Pasadena, on Friday.
His decision to retire now rather than in another two or three years “is greatly prompted by the economic downturn in my business due to COVID,” he said.
Stepping in, launching her new business at the site, 1518 Mission Street, will be Laurie Astle. “It has been a true pleasure and honor to have been of service to you,” Vandercook said in a statement before introducing his associate who will open Laurie Astle Design.
“I have every confidence that Laurie will continue the level of customer service and commitment you have come to expect from me,” he added.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis said on Thursday the economy in the United States contracted at a 32.9% annual rate from April through June, marking the worst drop since 1947.
In addition to virus concerns, Vandercook’s building lease expired July 31.
“This was a tough decision since I wanted to retire on my terms and not due to a pandemic,” said the 71-year-old, insisting: “It is time.”
Following considerable thought looking at the financial reality, Vandercook, married to South Pasadena’s own Peggy O’Leary, said he has complete peace about his choice to step aside.
“The quality of our life is so much more important,” he explained. “I have had the amazing privilege to be in business in South Pasadena for 27 grateful years. Having the experience of owning this business in South Pasadena for all these years has been wonderful. My business has been a place where I have met so many wonderful friends and have had the great honor to serve and contribute to my community.”
As an active member of the community, Vandercook said he will continue to be involved. “There is still a great deal of opportunity to stay connected to South Pasadena and the wonderful future of our city,” he said. “Peggy and I are really looking forward to the next chapter of our life together.”
Astle can be reached at (323) 806-4555 or firstname.lastname@example.org