Chula Vista's Quinceañera, Event Industry Readies For End Of Pandemic Restrictions
Speaker 1: 00:00 Many important events of our lives like weddings and Kings and Jerez were put on hold during the pandemic. And it hit the event. Industry hard KPBS reporter Alejandra, Ron gal talks with some Chula Vista merchants who are eager to get back to work Speaker 2: 00:17 Along third Avenue in downtown Chula Vista sits a row of restaurants, businesses, and breweries. It's also a go-to spot for people looking to planning, wedding or celebration. These businesses are picking up following a brutal year of pandemic restrictions from party photographers. There was no business for us to party bus rental companies, churches are closed. Restaurants are closed, dress shops, tuxedo shops, DJ's catering companies and entire industry completely shut down. Speaker 3: 00:49 It was so sad and I was so scared of losing my business. And this is a family business where my kids, Speaker 2: 00:57 Vicki Hernandez is the owner of illusion hall. She says the party venue she's been running for a decade was on the verge of bankruptcy. Speaker 3: 01:05 Some people don't know, but I had to take the decision to work as a waiter. Uh, I, I never believed that I turned to that, but I was trying to find a job. Speaker 2: 01:15 He also took out a $60,000 loan for her business. Speaker 3: 01:19 And when the loans start coming up, I qualify for a loan. And that helps me. That was like my, um, key to continue in this business. Speaker 2: 01:29 After a year of canceled events, Hernandez is scheduled to host a string of parties starting this summer. Speaker 3: 01:35 Get ready, mom, because now I am very, very busy because I had 50, almost 50 events waiting. Speaker 2: 01:42 Mark the turnaround with an open house on Sunday, giving clients a feel of what their dream day can look like. Angelo dosha has a tuxedo shop across the street from illusion hall. He says the reopening of the party halls is a good sign. As he knows, people will be looking for formal wear Speaker 4: 02:00 It's role, but able today, more people coming up, more people coming up, Speaker 2: 02:04 The majority of road Chaz income comes from [inaudible] a celebration of a girl's 15th birthday. He says 90% of his clients are Latino. Speaker 4: 02:15 Quinceneras his son tin for the special, for the spiny people. It's been important to have that kind of party. Speaker 2: 02:21 Rochester says it's loyal customers that are keeping him afloat out of 50 events. He had scheduled last year. He says only one asked for their money back and the remainder 49 have rescheduled for this year. Speaker 4: 02:35 Most of my customers are old customers. I have a customer from 20 years, 20 years, they come in back. They do some quinceanera later on. They come in for the wedding later on, they come in for another event. Speaker 2: 02:48 Other store owners aren't as fortunate. My [inaudible] the owner of Mario's boutique says he has an entire demographic of clientele. He hasn't been able to reach about 30 to 40% of my customers come from Tijuana to look for dresses here. It's a lot of people [inaudible] says he's had several customers looking for prom dresses. It's an added bonus. He wasn't expecting to see this year with the uncertainty of high school prompts. As the event industry begins to salvage what's left of this year. Hernandez says she's just grateful to have made it through. Speaker 3: 03:28 Now. I I'm. I'm happy that I didn't stop. I'm happy that I didn't go to bankruptcy, but it's going to take us maybe year and a half or two years to go back to that area where we was before pandemic Speaker 2: 03:42 Alexandra on hail KPBS news.