Barrio Logan is one San Diego County neighborhood that has been hardest hit by the pandemic, despite the difficult time small business owners tell NBC 7 the vibrant neighborhood is making progress. This as the community begins to see a downward trend of COVID-19 cases.
“Its been a tough year, but its getting better,” said NATIVO shop owner Xochitl Villarreal.
Villarreal shares how the pandemic has tested her both personally and professionally.
“I lost some family members, friends, neighbors people that I know and that was really sad and unfortunate," said Villarreal.
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Villarreal experienced loss from COVID-19, including losing her boutique NATIVO that offers Latin American handwoven crafts and clothing. Last year she shared with us how she was forced to shut down her business alongside Logan Avenue.
“For me failure is a lesson, failure is a school, failure is good because it makes your stronger,” said Villarreal.
The closure alongside the hard lessons of 2020 not only made Villarreal stronger, but she says it made her better. She managed to maintain her second boutique- Casa Xochi and now has unveiled her comeback- reopening NATIVO.
“It was amazing, I said it’s not the place, it’s not the size I wanted but I’m going to have NATIVO again,” said Villarreal through a smile.
Nestled in between Por Vida coffee and El Carrito restaurant on Logan Avenue is NATIVO.
The pandemic hit Barrio Logan hard. According to San Diego County data, last spring Barrio Logan and its surrounding neighborhoods had the second-highest COVID-19 case rate in the county. Something Por Vida Cafe owner Carolina Santana knows all too well.
“We’ve lost loved ones that, that’s been a major challenge and we weren’t able to mourn with them like we would,” said Santana.
Santana lost her father-in-law to the virus.
“Not being able to be by their bedside, not being able to advocate for them when they’re on literally their death bed, it was like a phone call it was such a major disconnect,” said Santana.
Both of these Latina entrepreneurs say they get it after firsthand going through what their community also grappled with.
“Business wise it helped us reflect on what truly mattered,” said Santana.
The business owners say they hope outdoor events like the Barrio Logan art crawl will continue to gain popularity as more people get vaccinated.
“Yes, I’m a self-made mujer, but with the support of everybody,” said Villarreal.