It's in the buzzing neighborhood of North Park that Yali Ruiz found the perfect place to invest in. Splash Wine Lounge has been in the area for years, but last December Ruiz took over ownership.
“The first three months were amazing,” Ruiz said. “We remodeled the space, hired people, did fabulous events, and really built a community.”
But that lasted three months. In March, after restrictions put in place as the coronavirus began to spread, Ruiz was forced to close her doors.
“It was terrifying,” Ruiz said. “It was hard not to think the universe is going, 'You did something stupid there,' right? But that's not the case. This is a global pandemic. Who could have predicted this?"
Ruiz still maintains Splash's online shop and serves a few people by reservations outside on weekends. But says the income isn't enough.
In order for her shop to survive, she knew her business model had to change.
“We are no longer going to be open to the public as a bar, we are going to be a public event place," she said.
Ruiz believes things will not get back to normal including bars and lounges, even after the pandemic.
"I think that when we gather, it will be intentional, for a good reason and it will be with the right people,” Ruiz said. “And that's what we want to create. A space where we can do that safely, and beautifully and around wine."
Ruiz hopes to launch her new business in January.