Signs of Life

Mark Trowbridge

The holiday season can be most distracting and stressful – putting up the tree (if you didn’t already do so before Thanksgiving), stocking up on egg nog, making your lists and checking them twice.  Even in the midst of a global pandemic, there is a desire to embrace all things shiny and bright.  As we say good-bye to 2020, now more than ever, we need all of you to bring the merry – and bring it big time.

Like you, I have seen the Black Friday sales and holiday promotions begin even before Halloween.  I have watched the Christmas trees and holiday garland go up early around the neighborhood (earlier than ever before), and marveled at the twinkling lights already shining bright on turkey day.  But, I also realize, that if we don’t do our very best to shop and buy local this holiday season, we might very well say “bye” to local in 2021.  Things are that dire and the need is just that great.  Like our businesses, your support is essential!

But there are reasons to be optimistic.  On-line sales topped $9 billion across Black Friday weekend, an eye-popping stat that even our local businesses who engage more significantly in e-commerce felt at the cash register.  Add to that a Cyber Monday sale that became Cyber Week, and there is some good news to be had.  And, there has to be – as more than 75% of small businesses have stated that they need to exceed last year’s numbers to still be around in 2021.  That is as daunting and as real as it gets, folks.

As the past week came to a close, there was some more good news in our City Beautiful.  I had the opportunity to visit and celebrate three restaurant openings in one day – that’s right – ONE SINGLE DAY.

The trio included Gustave on Miracle Mile, a French bakery and bistro that is new to the Gables and a lovely addition to our main street.  Quentin and his team offered up an amazing chocolate croissant that melted in my mouth – YUM.  Soon, they will open for dinner and carry a variety of outstanding French wines.

Then, there was Sweetgreen, the New York import that is all about the love affair with a healthy salad.  Located in the heart of Giralda Plaza, this green leafed eatery is sure to catch the attention of those who love a light lunch and healthier fare.

Finally, we say hello and welcome to Nick Sharp’s latest brilliant idea – Bay 13 Brewery and Kitchen.  This gem on Alhambra Circle is the first official brewery in the City Beautiful.  It is a gorgeous venue with incredible patio seating in the epicenter of the business community.  As always, Nick has the Midas touch and his menu (I tried the sausages – 2 different kinds; plus the incredible fish and chips and capped it off with the silky smooth chocolate mousse) is authentically Australian and approachable.  Once again, with his focus on the consumer, he has a winner on his hands right out of the gate!  By the way, be sure to try the Old Man or the Merv, two great brews that compliment the menu as much as they do your palate.

New businesses are a sign of life.  They are the bellwether of recovery and a signal of good things to come.

Investing in life-long dreams and opening up new shops in our business district usually draw great attention, as well as the discerning consumer and eager customer.  I see it all the time.  But, it is especially heartening at this moment that these visionaries continue to follow their hearts and passion.

Now, it is our job to support their efforts, shop small, support local, and help the lives of those businesses flourish!


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