While many businesses have been given the green light to reopen after the monthslong closure, many continue to struggle to find their “new normal” — and some have closed up permanently.
As many restaurant owners agree, profit margins for the industry were small before the pandemic. Now, as most are beginning to reopen dine-in services — with a plethora of restrictions — some have decided to throw in the towel.
First closing temporarily due to the stay-at-home orders on March 15, Mediterranean restaurant King Kogy in Valencia recently announced they would be closing permanently.
Though a sign posted on the restaurant’s door still says the closure is “temporary,” posts on the restaurant’s social media say otherwise.
“After careful consideration, we have made the decision to close permanently,” read a post on King Kogy’s Facebook. “We want to thank every guest, friend and family member for the support you have shown us over the years.”
Similarly, Round Table Pizza in Newhall closed its doors due to shutdown orders, never to reopen. The restaurant, which has been in operation since 2010, now sits bare, as tables and chairs have already been removed.
The California restaurant chain had more than 450 locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Texas and Hawaii as of 2019, including two locations in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Though no official statement was released, an employee of the restaurant’s Canyon Country location confirmed the closure of its Newhall counterpart, and the Round Table website has been updated to reflect the closure.
PizzaRev, a make-your-own pizza chain, has also made the decision to permanently close its Valencia location, among many others throughout L.A. County, citing on social media “the impact of COVID-19.”
A sign on the restaurant’s door reads, “We’re sorry PizzaRev fans. This location is closed,” while menus can still be seen on some tables inside.
The chain, which had already begun shrinking its footprint in recent years, had 27 locations as of 2019 and now shows a total of 13 locations that remain open in five states, as well as four franchises in Mexico.
Other affected businesses
It was after College of the Canyons announced its classes would remain online through the fall semester that The Book Exchange owner Taylor Kellstrom said he made the decision to close the shop’s storefront while continuing to do online orders.
“A business like mine, where we’re not even a half-mile from campus, it really affects us,” Kellstrom said, “so that’s why we had to change with the times really.”
Like most business owners, this was definitely something Kellstrom says he didn’t see coming, though he remains hopeful.
“We’re hoping in January when we can assess where COC is at and where the world is at, to reopen the storefront, but for now we’re just focusing on online orders through our website,” he said.
For now, they’ll be focused on online orders, which will either be shipped or dropped off to those within the SCV.
“I’m just really grateful for the last 11 years of people supporting us, and hopefully now that we truly need it, people decide to use us more than Amazon (for example) because everything that we do stays local,” Kellstrom added.
After being in business for 18 years, the Martial Arts Fitness Center in Canyon Country announced it, too, would be closing its doors.
“Due to this pandemic and the loss of income, it is with a heavy and saddened heart that we announce that Martial Arts Fitness Center will be closed indefinitely,” owner Liz Bouciegues wrote in a statement posted on the center’s social media. “Although the physical location may not remain, we hope that the memory, time spent and friendships made at MAFC will live on forever.”
Others hanging on by a thread
When Tony Taymourian, owner of Newhall Aquarium, began to see businesses in his industry reopen, he quickly realized his aquarium is nowhere near ready.
“It’s been closed for a while now, so we really need to regroup, restock and restaff before we get ready to reopen,” Taymourian said.
Though eager to reopen, after more than three months closed with no income, Taymourian is seeking the public’s help to get back on track and has started a GoFundMe.
“We know everyone’s struggling right now, but what we’re trying to do is just get back up and running,” he said. “We want to get this thing open, and we want to get the funding to do it and do it as quickly as possible.”
The aquarium, which more than 100 species of marine animals have called home for the past five years, works hand-in-hand with the local school districts, providing students and clients with educational resources on marine life.
As a nonprofit, the aquarium has done so primarily off of donations. Now with a goal of raising $50,000, Taymourian is hoping to use those funds to not only keep the facility running, but also to purchase much-needed supplies for the animals, as well as hopefully to update some equipment and displays with enough funding.
“(These) additions can really make the experience even even better for everybody,” he added.
Anyone who donates $20 or more is also set to receive a yearlong membership to the aquarium once reopened.