By Galen Patterson
The COVID-19 outbreak has frozen one of the world’s most powerful economies and suspended the fate of many business owners worldwide.
During these uncertain times, many small businesses are searching for any method or reason to stay open, and in Arcadia, some have gone to great lengths to do so.
Nationwide, the workforce unfortunate enough to be deemed “non-essential” is biding their time and waiting to see how things will change in the future, and reconstruct the economy.
Locally, this has turned popular Arcadian attractions into hollow structures resembling ghost towns.
Located in the center of Santa Anita Westfield Mall is a restaurant called California Pizza Kitchen (CPK). CPK is open for take-out, but the restaurant is located deep within the mall complex, and delivery drivers must follow the signs for the fastest access route. (Cheesecake Factory is open for pickup and delivery.)
The shift manager at CPK says she thinks Cheesecake Factory is open on the other side, but she is not sure.
Many restaurants have stayed open to offer take-out, or accommodating a higher demand to the essential workforce.
Sushi Kiyosuzu owners had their daughter, Arcadian Olympic athlete Mirai Nagasu, working in the restaurant for a period of time.
Sushi Kiyosuzu has partnered with D.C.-based nonprofit organization Power or 10 to help fund the restaurant and provide meals for the essential workforce.
Rod’s Grill has placed signs out front letting people know that they are open for business.
Owner Manny Romero personally thanks all of his patrons for their support when they pick up their food.
Over on First Street, next to the Gold Line platform, the long-awaited GoKi Café was just weeks away from opening and now remains unchanged with no word on whether or not it will actually open.
Next door, Vendome has closed its coffee bar, but is still selling in the rest of the store. However, they are still making coffee to-go. This means Arcadians can still taste the hand-crafted Vietnamese coffee made by the staff, who take pride in creating it, but they cannot enjoy the aroma or atmosphere of the process.
Much like the rest of the country, whether or not Arcadia’s economy will recover quickly is unknown.
“There are a lot of unknowns. We’re definitely expecting some sort of economic retraction,” says Chief Economic Analyst for Arcadia, Tim Schwehr.
Arcadia maintained a significant amount of regional draw prior to the quarantine. Much of that draw is tied to the economy and is in jeopardy, but Schwehr says the city is unaware of some of the larger businesses closing up shop for good. The racetrack, Rusnak dealership, and REI are all expected to reopen when the quarantine is lifted.
“Those are my thoughts,” says Schwehr, “but we’re in uncharted territory.”