The COVID-19 pandemic has put small business owners in a difficult position, with many retailers having closed for nearly two months owners are struggling to keep their businesses running. In Barrio Logan, many store owners are faced with making the tough decision of closing their beloved shops for good.
“I consider myself a very strong woman,” said Xochitl Villarreal.
Small business owner Villarreal has been making a name for herself in Barrio Logan for the last several years. Her two shops: Casa Xovi and NATIVO, are boutiques offering Latin American handwoven crafts and clothing.
“What you sell the most is attitude. If you have a good attitude, people will come to you,” Villarreal said.
After being forced to shut down her two businesses on Logan Avenue for the last two months, NATIVO will not reopen.
“It’s been very hard, very hard to work so hard for the passion you have for the culture,” Villarreal said.
The South Bay mother is not just passionate about bringing Mexican, Central, and South American culture to Barrio Logan. Villarreal said her store NATIVO was inspired by her oldest son, who struggles with mental illness.
“Every time I thought about NATIVO when I was opening, I was hoping my son could work there, but then that didn’t happen,” she said. “NATIVO was my dream, and I had to let it go.”
Photos: Barrio Logan Business Owner Forced To Close Down Shop, Fighting To Keep Second Store
Despite the closure, the mother of five is going back to work hoping that Casa Xovi will survive the partial reopening and working on NATIVO’s brand online.
“I hope everyone makes it, and I hope everybody has the ability to somehow work with their landlords,” she said.
Villarreal said she was looking forward to the monthly Barrio Art Crawl as it's a big driver of revenue for their stores, but the event is currently on hold.
Under Phase 2, retailers can offer curbside pick-up, but things are different now, especially with kids home from school.
“That’s the toughest,” Villarreal said with a laugh. “Being a mother, working, being a wife, an entrepreneur, a business owner, it’s been a huge challenge.”
The mother of five said more than ever she’s leaning on her family for help and adjusting her store hours as she can.
“I want to give the best service, but I also want to be very safe for our customers and our safety,” she said.
Casa Xovi will begin curbside pick-up on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This will go on until restrictions for stores loosen.