Marty Steele has owned the Deli Stop in Rancho Peñasquitos for 33 years.
Sierra Eads has been a manager at the sandwich shop and sports pub for 20 years.
Tim Slayton has been a loyal customer of the business for 31 years.
Now each of the long-time friends find themselves connected and caught in the middle of an economic trickle-down effect due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Slayton is no longer able to visit a place where he spends his money and considers a community hub.
“It kind of leaves a hole. A little social hole if that makes any sense. Something that’s always there, all of a sudden isn’t and nobody saw that coming,” said Slayton.
As a result of losing customers like Slayton, Steele says business at the Deli Stop is down 33%. He’s been forced to make difficult business decisions that have included cutting back operating hours and letting go of long time employees.
“I don’t have a choice. I can’t have people here. The business is just not here to justify people working,” said Steele.
Among those who have been furloughed is long time manager Eads.
“My income has been impacted, definitely. I filed for a claim with unemployment when the business was mandated to close,” said Eads.
The three long-time friends brought together by the success of the business, now find themselves separated due to a lack of business brought on by the pandemic. But they remain optimistic.
“I’m just trying to get through it in the most positive way that we can. But also knowing that I’m not alone in it as well, that we’re all impacted and all trying to help each other,” said Eads
“I think things are going to get better. They have to, you have to evolve. Maybe by the summer, things will get back to normal. It might not be the way they used to, but life goes on,” said Steele.
In the meantime, Steele says his small business, which usually employed a workforce of about 10 people, is now run by three people.