This is part one of an ongoing series that highlights some of the local businesses who have successfully transitioned during the pandemic, which has impacted all our lives in some way, including the business men and women of South Pasadena.
Despite the temporary and permanent closures of about 180 shops and businesses in South Pasadena over the last 12 months, the entrepreneurial spirit remains alive and kicking as businesses continue to show resilience during a time of great economic uncertainty.
Examples of mostly successful perseverance are found along the ‘Graham Block‘ in South Pasadena, a charming strip of businesses nestled together in the historic business district located on the south-side of Mission Street between Diamond and Meridian Avenue.
Although there has been a major financial impact on the local economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the more experienced purveyors have proven to be resilient. Other shops have just started to open up again – all of which have the customers in mind and the community at heart. This includes the local pub: ‘Griffins of Kinsale‘ – they’ll be open safely on St. Patrick’s day.
In all kinds of ways and means, these business owners have had to transform their stores in order to survive. Some have only needed to make minor changes and others have had to change direction altogether, pivoting their business strategy into entirely new endeavors to remain in service to the residents of South Pasadena.
Resilience presents itself as a common theme, as found with Peggy Hodgson, owner of ‘Hodgson’s Antiques’, who told the South Pasadenan News, “Being that I’ve been in business, this is going to be our 50th year, I started to learn to go with the punches, and I was able to survive.” This sentiment is not only seen locally but it has echoed across the nation by other business owners as well.
David Nilseen, CEO of Guidant Financial — a nationwide institute that provides financial services for new and existing entrepreneurs — recently stated, “ while the pandemic has created numerous challenges for American small business, the resilience and innovation small businesses have shown demonstrates how even the most difficult times can’t stop the entrepreneurial spirit”
Facing uncertain reality, Christina Segura of Mission Street’s ‘Pretty is Contagious‘ said that her “shop was just born in June 2020, during the quarantine.” She also shared that “actually the quarantine [has] allowed me to shift and [I realized], I need to pivot and be able to make things happen in a different way. So, I’m shifting and growing instead of being fearful.”
In early December of 2020, at what may have been the worst economic turbulence in recent history, owner Diana March of ‘Jeweled Universe‘ recounts, “we actually were very brave and opened the store during the pandemic.”
The entrepreneurial mindset is optimistic by nature. According to a nationwide survey of over 2,400 businesses conducted by Guidant Financial, it was found that 51% of the businesses that have survived are focused on growing their business, 30% are working on sustaining their current business, 10% would like to open a new location and only 9% had an interest in selling their business.
This perseverance is what pushes businesses to continue their efforts and as Hodgson suggests “I think through it all, Americans are a bunch of tough people and we will all bounce back within a very short timeframe. As long as the news doesn’t keep putting out all this doom and gloom and making us feel like we can’t [survive], I think if we just keep an attitude of ‘I can do it’ like we used to have to during World War II, we can do it.”