Some have been affected more than others – join us as we take a look at three long-standing businesses in the community.
It is through the trying times that come our way that the strongest shine through all the calamity. Such was the case with this past spring and early summer with the dawn of Covid-19. Many weren’t able to deal with the stresses that the pandemic brought, many even arguing that the pandemic was something that this fast-paced world of ours wasn’t ready for at all.
What was quite interesting to see however, was that many of the community’s long-standing businesses did alright in the end … with the support of the community itself and with the endurance that they themselves had within them as business owners, they’re still doing quite well amidst these uncertain times—even thriving—and all because they did what they could to keep their clientele safe.
Of course there are many businesses in the community doing this, and we’d love to take a deeper look at them in later installments, but for this time we decided to look at three community businesses in particular to kick things off.
To walk into the bakery now, one wouldn’t know that anything was wrong outside those doors or out in the world for that matter. In fact, when walking through the front entrance, when you pass by the disinfectant and wipe your hands, you’re immediately transported back in time, to where the corner bakery was where you went for your tasty confections and not a popular chain. The display cases are lined with delicious, mouthwatering treats that are just as much eye candy as they are delicacies of a gastronomic persuasion.
The counter clerks are friendly, as are the owners, Anestis Karagiannidis, who opened the place way back in 1971 and now his son, Billy, who operates and expanded the one location into many more.
Anestis Karagiannidis has seen many ups and downs since opening the place, and perhaps nothing as life-changing as the Covid-19 pandemic. “The world will change, my friend,” he told me when I stopped in to visit him, and I definitely agree with him, as the landscape of the modern business will never be the same again.
But they seemed to have been well prepared for it and are now at 80% production to what they were doing before Covid-19, and that’s definitely saying something.
The only difficulties they had was an early panic leading to layoffs, and when they realized that demand was slowly rising, many employees did not want to return to work out of fear or perhaps even the CERB allowance they were given by the government. There was also the fact that their larger orders they usually got for banquets stopped coming in altogether. This presented a small problem for them, but not one that was insurmountable. You don’t stay in business for this long (next year 50 years) without learning how to swerve the big potholes in that long and bumpy road we all call life.
Billy said: “We’re catering mostly to the retail customer. We came a long way. People are getting used to the rules, so they feel more comfortable … a lot of restaurants closed, so they come to get their desserts here. We were fortunate not to close at all. We’ve been rolling with the punches from the beginning.”
We wish them luck and applaud their hard work and dedication to serving the community through thick and thin.
And if a trim, a fade, or even a shave is what you’re in the market for, Gold Scissor has been serving the community for nearly two decades. Opened by Ali Tokgoz in 2001, they’ve been serving the community for 19 years specifically. We spoke to his brother Osman, who has been there for these last 15 years and he told us that they’re doing their part to help.
And indeed they are … specifically, they have disinfectant at all the right places, clients are all abiding by the mask rules. The barbers themselves are all wearing both masks and shields. They now only take appointments and they have taped off the waiting area where there were a few seats formerly. To look at these seats now a feeling of both nostalgia and disquiet filled me, thinking back to better days, when the local barbershop was where great conversations were unearthed and rumbling laughter could be hard from the street, all with the soft yet quick yet fragile sound of the snipping of scissors. Perhaps none of us knew how fragile that sound was before Covid-19 … fragile and fleeting.
To sum up the feeling we all have, it is perhaps Osman that said it best. When we asked what his hopes were for the next three months, he said: “That Covid is finished!”
Well said, my friend … well said.
And last but certainly not least is of course Astral Shoes. When it comes to shoes, there is no doubt that big business did away with the smaller manufacturers and outlets over the last two decades and we’ve seen the loss of many of these smaller companies. But Astral Shoes has been around for a very long time and at its current location since 1993.
We spoke to Aldo Tarsia and he was one of the first business owners to say that Covid-19 wasn’t all that much of a change for him. His business has been declining and for quite some time. When Covid-19 hit, he simply closed for about three months and when he was able to re-open which was on the 25th of May, he did. When I walked in, he was alone and very graciously decided to speak to us.
“Covid-19 made a bit of an impact, but not much,” he said. “A little bit.” He went on to tell us that it was the large conglomerate stores that did him and his business a disservice and we more than understand that.
Still, he is abiding by all the rules and is there all week long except Sundays. He still does some repairs if they’re worth it, but sells designer shoes at astonishingly low prices … prices you’re not likely to find anywhere else. And with winter on the horizon, he promises incredible prices on winter boots.
So, while society slowly pieces itself together, get back out there folks, slowly but surely. Get back out there and stop by these neighborhood rocks of the community, and have yourselves a delectable treat at Afroditi, a cut and trim at Gold Scissors and for those of you looking for an astonishing price on designer shoes, why not pay Aldo Tarsia a visit at Astral Shoes. We’re sure you won’t regret it.