The Fate of Our Small Businesses

Updated: Apr 10

By Joanna Metheny

These are crazy times we are living in. It’s safe to say that none of us alive today have ever experienced a global pandemic like what we are going through, and we are all learning and adapting as we go, sometimes minute by minute.


By now, most everyone is very familiar with the recommendations of social distancing and frequent handwashing, but those who are healthy may be starting to wonder about the fate of our greater community. In this time of upheaval, nationally many businesses are suffering, and the fate of small businesses, in particular, are some of the most uncertain. Ripon is home to a multitude of mom and pop companies that provide a huge variety of services to our town, from coffee and food to flowers and hardware. One of the best ways we can ensure our wonderful community not only survives but thrives is by supporting our local businesses during this new era. Each of us must strike our own balance between protecting ourselves and our families, while still supporting the sustainability of our local community.


While not in mandated lockdown mode as of today, several businesses in town have elected to temporarily shutter their doors until things begin to return to normal. However, there are a large number of businesses that are currently open and trying to support our residents to the best of their ability. We have reached out to a number of Ripon businesses to find out how they are navigating the constantly changing restrictions, as well as to hear their thoughts on how as a community, we can best support them.


The Ripon Chamber of Commerce is one of several spots that have closed their doors to walk-ins but are still staffed and accepting visitors by appointment only. Others following this model are the City of Ripon, Events22, and the Ripon Animal Shelter. Kelly Donohue at the Chamber had some great ideas about how we can support those businesses still up and running:


  • Order a take-out meal/curbside pickup from one of our many restaurants

  • Purchase a gift card to be used once business returns to normal (which will help provide much-needed income now)

  • Use this time to tackle house and garden projects, and source your supplies from places like Park Greenhouse and Schemper’s

  • Take care of oil changes and car repairs: Swier Tire Center is already adept at curbside service

  • Brighten your living space with flowers from Main St. Floral, Dutch Roots, or Wild Blooms


For those looking to feed their families and avoid the chaos and empty shelves at grocery stores, we still have plenty of in-town options. Everyone we spoke with emphasized their already strict adherence to sanitization as per their normal course of business, which has been amped up even further to combat the spread of the virus. Austin’s Meat is experiencing a huge uptick in business, doing everything they can to provide for their customers, and is dedicated to staying open for as long as possible, with the option to moving to curbside pickup only if the time comes. Purchasing limits are currently only in place for ground beef, with no restrictions for seniors over 65.


Burgess Bakery is another establishment that has seen a surge in demand. Despite fewer seniors and families with young children in the dining room, empty grocery stores have driven up demand for fresh bread, and Burgess is cranking out exponentially more bread than normal. In addition to bread, Burgess is also offering family-friendly, affordable meals to go. In order to best support them in this time of increased demand, Burgess suggests calling well in advance when looking to order bread or meals. Other great Ripon eateries still open for takeout: Pizza Plus, Canal Street Grille, and A Matter of Taste.


For those looking to source eggs, we still have plentiful supply here in town at Pleasant Valley Farms, located at 10858 W. Ripon Road. Their drive-up window ensures minimal contact, and their affordable prices can’t be beaten.


Beyond food, many of our other local businesses have taken measures to promote our health. Medeiros Barber Shop has moved chairs outside so customers can maintain distance from each other, as well as set up a hand sanitizer station. Magpie Antiques has also remained open while conducting additional daily sanitization of the store.


As a community, we can all come together to stay healthy both physically, as well as community-wise. These are just a few suggestions on how we can best support our local businesses. Comment below with your own ideas and favorite spots to patronize under the current health guidelines.

Update (3/20/2020 at 10:35 AM) - Since press time, a state-wide mandate was issued to shelter in place for all California residents. This order does not apply to those employed in essential industries (healthcare, grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.) Residents may still do things like shop for groceries and medical needs, pick up take-out food, and walk in their neighborhoods, but are encouraged to stay home as much as possible. While this order will force many businesses such as general retail and salons to temporarily close, those classified as essential include hardware stores, restaurants, automotive shops, and grocery stores. This means that most of Ripon’s restaurants, car shops, grocery stores, and Schemper’s Ace Hardware will remain open for business, as well as offer curbside or no contact services. Many have altered hours, so it may be prudent to call ahead to confirm places are open.

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