SCV businesses struggle to stay afloat through pandemic

Valencia Newsstand 23164 Valencia Boulevard. Dan Watson/The Signal
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As national retail stores once again temporarily close amid the latest COVID-19 spike, other businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley are struggling to avoid closing their doors permanently.

While Apple has announced it would be re-closing more than 30 stores, including the one at Westfield Valencia Town Center, just down the street, a handful of other businesses have closed permanently.

Valencia Cigars & News, a 24-hour newsstand located at Bouquet Junction, quietly closed its doors recently, with signage removed and paper now covering the windows of the locale.

An employee at nearby Cigar Clientelle, co-founded by the owner of the newsstand in 2017, confirmed that the closure was due to COVID-19.

The Doctors’ Office SCV, located on Lyons Avenue in Newhall, also recently announced its permanent closure due to the impacts of COVID-19 after 29 years in business.

“It has been a privilege and honor to take care of the Santa Clarita community,” a recorded message on the business’ phone line said. 

The office is referring its patients to SmartClinic Urgent Care, located at the old The Doctors’ Office II in Canyon Country, which was open from 2012 to 2015, according to a message on their website.

Some of The Doctors’ Office’s providers and office staff are also expected to be transferring to SmartClinic, while Dr. James Weagley is set to retire. 

Laser Blast 23460 Cinema Drive. Dan Watson/The Signal

Several SCV residents have also speculated that Valencia Laser Blast has closed permanently, and while the business’ phone number has been disconnected, The Signal was unable to reach anyone for comment via email or social media. 

The locale’s competitor, Mountasia Family Fun Center, did confirm the closure of Valencia Laser Blast.

Michael Fleming, general managing partner at Mountasia, says that Mountasia hasn’t been without its own struggle to stay afloat, and is, too, at risk of closing its doors for good.

“August is Mountasia’s 25th anniversary,” Fleming said. “I’m struggling with my emotion (because) this year was supposed to be a big celebration. We had a lot of things planned for the community.” 

Last year, when the SCV saw snow, hail and plenty of rain, Mountasia was hit hard.

“We were hammered for three and a half months, and we lost almost every weekend, so we went into the start of last year behind,” Fleming said. “We were hoping to make up for it, and we did.” 

In an effort to turn things around this year, Mountasia started making some changes, adding new games and batting cages, along with redoing all of the flooring. 

Mountasia Family Fun Center at risk of closing21516 Golden Triangle Road. Dan Watson/The Signal

“We were actually on a roll, so to speak,” Fleming added. “We did so much, and then all of a sudden COVID hit.” 

Fleming was able to take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, which allowed him to keep his full-time workers employed and bought Mountasia some additional time. 

“Now, we’re going into month four, and that’s when it really started to hit,” Fleming said. “I recently got to a point where I had to make a decision with what to do with the (remainder of the) PPP funds a couple weeks ago, and unfortunately, I had to furlough all of my staff. … That was extremely difficult to do.”

Even so, without reopening soon, Fleming says funds are running low. 

“With the numbers going back up, it’s scaring me a lot now,” he added. “We really can’t go much beyond the middle of August. If it’s September, then Mountaisa is just not going to make it. … We’ve always tried to be a good community partner, and it just crushes me to even think that we might not be here three months from now.” 

Right now, Fleming says the community just has to do what it can to help each other.

“The biggest thing you can do, not only for us but for the other business, is to let your voices be known in Santa Clarita,” he added. “We’re trying to keep everyone safe and hope everyone is doing the same, so we can get to whatever our new normal is going to be because it’s got to be better than what it is now.”

To donate to a GoFundMe for Mountasia, visit gf.me/u/yhfiqy.

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