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Published November 11th, 2020
Business comings and goings in Lafayette amid the pandemic
Lace and Bustle, a bridal store located in the Clocktower opposite Postino's, will be closing before Thanksgiving. Photo Pippa Fisher

After eight months of varying levels of restrictions and closures in the area, Lafayette is starting to see some businesses shutting down and, perhaps more surprisingly, still others opening.
One of the first casualties was Big O Cheese Steak, early in the pandemic. According to the Chamber of Commerce, other businesses now shuttered include Back to the Table, Sugi, Lemon, Jos A. Bank and Myara. Jennifer Perlmutter closed her original Lafayette gallery but retains her larger pop-up gallery. Others businesses such as Papillon Gourmet Coffees have changed hands, and are still open for business under new ownership.
Lace and Bustle, Lafayette's bridal shop located in the Clocktower, will be closing its doors permanently the weekend before Thanksgiving, but the store's owner Victoria Hansen, while acknowledging the difficult times that all small business owners are facing, says the decision to close has more to do with her changing priorities.
Hansen says she has decided to spend more time with family, explaining that her baby was just 6 months old at the start of the shutdown in the spring.
"It was a blessing to have the three months of closure, to have the time away from the hustle and bustle and to spend it with my baby," says Hansen, noting that the moments of reflection allowed her to see more clearly what her priorities were. "Life is short."
But the news is not all bad. Even as some shoppers change their habits in favor of online retail, new ventures are appearing including Reasonable Books (see story in the Oct. 28 issue of Lamorinda Weekly), Lemonade Piercing, The Main Kitchen, Emerson Grace Design, Germinate Kitchen, and Out of the Cave Foods.
And even as many holiday faires will not be taking place this year, some are turning to the `pop-up' model as a short-term solution for both the vendors and the empty storefronts (see related story about the Holiday Gift Collective below).
For Semira Moslem, owner of Sparkles & Joy - a weekly, curated ethnic foods, subscription-based delivery business - launching during a pandemic was a smart thing to do. "There is a strong appetite for this right now," she says.
Moslem says she identified a greater need to deliver food to customers as people were avoiding eating out and she says that any kinks she has encountered so far have been related more to the challenges of a start up, for example with hiring staff for the once-a-week deliveries.
In fact Sparkles & Joy is hoping to expand beyond just the Lamorinda area into Walnut Creek. However, she notes they have lost several customers. "In asking for feedback with regards to cancellations, they have stated economic hardship for their families."
Despite Hansen's personal decision to close her bridal business, she reflects on how humbled and honored she has been to help customers find their wedding dress over the years.
"Now more than ever the emphasis should be on shopping local, to support small businesses," says Hansen.
Further details on Sparkles & Joy can be found at www.sparklesandjoy.com/

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