“These are unprecedented times and nothing matters more than the health and safety of our guests, teams, concessionaires and the local community as a whole,” says Didier Souillat, CEO of Time Out Market. In a show of solidarity, he adds: “We would like to encourage everyone to support those local businesses that are able to remain open, in particular the venues of our Time Out Market chefs and restaurateurs which are amongst the best of the city. Many offer home deliveries and gift cards. Now is the time to support them.”
Ryan Chase, owner/founder 4th St Market, principal at S&A Management in Santa Ana, California, says that, holidays aside, they had to close the entire market to the public for the first time ever. In the meantime, 4th Street Market has “a big five-year revamp” that it has begun working on earlier than planned given all of the downtime that has come up. However, some of their clients are still open.
“Currently Alta Baja Market, who has its own entrance, is continuing to operate with limited hours and social distancing, along with takeout and delivery,” Chase says. “La Vegana Mexicana is offering pickup and delivery, and Electric City Butcher is offering delivery. East End Kitchens, our incubator commercial kitchen spaces, are in full swing, and some of our vendors are actually seeing an increase in orders, including Model Meals.”
S&A Management/4th Street Market is trying to assist its merchants with pickup and delivery through social media, their newsletter, and any onsite support and other input they can provide. “The Downtown business improvement district is also promoting, and worked with the city to get them reserved meters for pickup/delivery,” Chase says. “In general, some merchants have decided that they prefer to be with their family and loved ones, or that there is minimal pickup and its not financially viable to do delivery, especially with the high fees most companies charge.”
Chase is aware of the unexpected strain that this pandemic is creating on small business, and he says two or three of his tenants are currently considering their options. “We have looked at setting up an internal delivery system for 4th Street Market, but as of now don't have enough interest to make sense,” Chase remarks. “As I always tell my tenants, I am open to any and all ideas, and hopefully we can come up with some other ways to generate some business during this challenging time.”
As Botbol says, these are crazy times, but he wagers that the business will find a way to get through it. “I'm sure there is another side to this, and hopefully these extreme [quarantine] measures are taken seriously in the short term,” he says. “That'll help definitely long term.”