North County

Leucadia Businesses Trying To Stay Above Water While They Wait to Reopen

On Wednesday San Diego County announced it's indefinitely extending the stay-at-home order, but some small business owners say they don't know how much longer they can hang on.

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The small stretch of Encinitas along Highway 101 is filled with locally-owned businesses that represent the fabric of Leucadia, a colorful beach community, but most are shut down and the others are only partially operating.

"We have been closed since March 17th. I painfully remember the date, it's been devastating," said Letha Sandison, co-owner of Four Moon Spas.

Sandison's spa is tucked away off Vulcan Avenue. It's been in operation for three years but right now the wellness center is shut down until further notice. Sandison and co-owner Courtney Mars are making 2% of what they are used to.

Sandison and Mars fear they will lose their beloved wellness center if their doors continue to be shut and rent is still due. They are asking for help.

"It's a real struggle. You burn through any cash flow that you had in a month. It's amazing how fast that happens," said Sandison.

Photos: Leucadia Businesses Trying To Stay Above Water While They Wait to Reopen

Four Moon Spas offers facials, massages, acupuncture, yoga, everything you're not allowed to experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Small businesses really make up the community and culture of Leucadia, it's such a community feeling to us we really want all of us to rise together," said Sandison.

Judy Swain is celebrating her 20 year anniversary of her furniture and decor shop BAMBOO 2 U & Beach House Too located on Coast Highway.

"We have a little thing in Leucadia where we used to have bumper stickers and license stickers that said 'Keep Leucadia Funky,'" said Swain.

Leucadia is known for its charming shops, arts, color & soul 🌈 🌊 Leucadia 101 Main Street AssociationTonight at 6 on...

Posted by Melissa Adan on Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Swain said she's going "outside of business" by selling chairs, patio items and decor over the phone and allowing curbside pick-up.

"It's not really paying the rent but, little by little at least it's bringing something in," she said.

The Leucadia business owners pride themselves with their locally owned shops, colorful murals and of course quick access to the beaches.

"When the beach closed it was sort of the nail in the coffin because at that point nobody wants to be reminded that they cant do their favorite pastime," said co-owner of Bing Surfboards, Margaret Calvani.

Calvani owns Bing Surfboards with her husband Matt. They were on track for 2020 to be their most successful year at the surf shop, until they were forced to shut down.

"The clock is ticking, there's only so much money in the bank before we have to stop paying rent, stop paying employees, you know I hope it doesn't come to that," said Calvani.

The Cardiff-by-the-Sea Foundation is seeking donations to start an Encinitas small business support fund. Once they have $100,000 they will allow small businesses to apply for this local grant.

"Some days it's actually made me feel guilty that I am open and other businesses aren't," said Debi McCarver.

McCarver owns Leucaida Floral & Plant, it's an agriculture business so they are allowed to stay open as long as they adhere to social distancing. Nonetheless, there's hardly any foot traffic at the shop on weekdays.

"If I wasn't open and able to work or operate, this business would be gone," said McCarver.

Yet, in true Leucadia fashion, all the business women interviewed by NBC 7 said they are determined to stay open. 

"I'll survive for sure," said Swain. "There's no plan B, there's only plan A!"

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