Thousands of businesses in San Diego County can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It has been a very long tunnel.
The past year was a brutal one for many business owners in Poway, especially. It felt like a slap in the face after dozens of businesses in that city endured a weeklong boil-water order toward the end of 2019 that shut many of them down.
“Isn’t that amazing?” reminisced Jeannie Hume. "The water was a huge issue back then."
At the end of November 2019, the city of Poway said a valve at a water treatment plant malfunctioned and allowed untreated rainwater runoff to enter the potable water supply. That led to a weeklong boil water order, crippling businesses for six days.
Hume never expected a pandemic would try to one-up the water crisis.
“Oh! I will never ever forget that feeling. Never!" Hume recalled. "That feeling of, ‘Oh, my gosh, what does this mean to my business?’ ”
Hume never endured anything like 2020 during her 35 years of running Crystal Gardens Florist.
“I wish it was all over already, but so do all of us,” the florist said.
“It’s been tough,” agreed Chad Clattenburg, the manager at In the Mix Yogurt.
The shop ever closed during the weeklong water crisis and has stayed open during the pandemic, despite business falling off considerably.
“I feel like we were sort of prepared for COVID because we already went through it when we had to fight through the water boil,” Clattenburg said. “I’ve been positive throughout this all, but I have been sad on some days, like, especially, in March. On a Friday night, I would be looking out, just hoping a car would come in.”
Clattenburg said faithful customers would come on a weekly and sometimes daily basis to help keep him going.
“Even if they’re just here every Saturday night," Clattenburg said, "I’m just happy to see them.”
Hume said he was very hopeful about the future.
The business owners are now prize fighters in the pandemic business.
“We’re surviving,” Clattenburg said as a family rolled up to his yogurt shop. "Then, in the future, we’ll thrive."
“We’re going to make it," Hume said. "I know now we’re going to make it."