The small San Joaquin County of roughly 7,000 people is helping businesses as much as it can.
“It’s heart wrenching to have to give up or switch gears or pivot,” Jana Narin, one of the owners of the Tri-Tipery, said. “It’s challenging without a doubt.”
Jana and her husband Rob opened the restaurant two and half years ago. But, when the state initially closed restaurants at the beginning of the pandemic, traffic to Yosemite and other destinations shut down too, resulting in a large percentage of customers no longer coming.
“Dependent on the traffic on Hwy. 120 and the shelter in place going on. It just wasn’t penciling,” Jana Nairn said.
However, for the most part, businesses in Escalon are holding their own and doing all that they can to survive. At the Butler’s Pantry on Main Street, the kitchen goods and home decor store is not only staying open, but business has doubled from last summer.
“Now that people are staying home and needing to cook and doing other different things, we’ve just gotten a lot busier,” owner Jamie Brown said.
So, much so, there are plans to open a cafe in November to complement cooking classes she has offered.
“We started an online business at the end of March, so we’ve needed a lot more people because now, we are actually shipping out of state which is very exciting,” Brown said.
The city of Escalon has about 300 businesses and it turns out the community is pitching in to support one another.
“Somebody will put on our Escalon resident site, the donut shop has lots of donuts, let’s support today and off goes the town to support,” Pat Brown, a former teacher who has spent the past ten years as the President of the Escalon Chamber of Commerce, said.
Jana Nairn and her husband have another Tri-Tipery restaurant still open in the Merced County town of Ballico. Although she had to close in Escalon, she has some advice for other business owners.
“Really rally your patrons. Work with your local regulators as much as you can to utilize every option they’re giving you,” Narin said.
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