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Pasadena Businesses Cope with Temporary New Normal

Chamber president emphasizes continued support of local restaurants and shops

Published on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 | 6:53 am

As Pasadena shuts down dining in restaurants and shutters most shop doors, local small businesses are emphasizing the importance of deliveries and pickups as a way of continuing to support local eateries.

A number of restaurants—El Portal and the Smith Group of restaurants (Arroyo Chop House, Parkway Diner and Smitty’s)—are featuring meals available on local delivery services like Door Dash, as well as valets having food ready and waiting for customers to drive by and pick up.

Paul Little, President and CEO of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, also noted today that Vroman’s has a similar arrangement with its book sales. The historic bookstore will have store employees in its parking lot at the ready to deliver book purchases to drive-up customers.

Said Little, “You don’t want to go in the store, that’s great. You still got to have something to do while you’re home. Why not call up and order a book?”

Little said the Chamber is also encouraging locals to purchase gift cards from their favorite local restaurants to use when things return to normal.

“If you’re not comfortable going out to Celestino, for example,” Little said, “buy a gift card online. Once this is over, and it will be over, you can go back, but they don’t have income now, because so many of our restaurants or retailers are at such slim margins. You don’t want them to have to sort of suffer through this, and then realize at the end of it all, that they don’t have the resources to open up again. So that’s kind of the concern and the fear.”

Little continued, “The Googles of the world are going to cope. They’ve got lots of financial resources. But what happens to the mom and pop store, or the locally-owned coffee shop, you know? Yeah. Those are folks I’m really concerned about.”

The Chamber itself is also adjusting to the temporary New Normal.

“We’re not doing face to face meetings,” said Little, “and everything’s been going to be done remotely, with either conference calls or phone calls, or just postponed.”

As Little emphasized, “I want to make sure, you know, my staff and their kids and everybody around them is as safe as possible too.”

Little said his office is also maintaining constant communication with the city and state governments.

“As we hear definitive things that are going to happen that impact our members, we will let them know,” said Little.

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