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Valley small business owners reflect on difficult year as shutdown anniversary approaches

0428 closed business

Signs of life Thursday morning in Old Town Indio included light traffic and a few people out and about.

For Elaine Holmes and her husband Doug, the owners of PJ's Desert Trophies and Gifts, the activity can't pick up soon enough.

"What comes to mind is how hard everyone has worked in this environment.  Everyone worked hard to survive and succeed and how everyone supported everyone here," said Holmes.

Since last March, Holmes says the only time they closed their doors was for three weeks in April.

While business is off more than 60 percent, they've managed to keep their doors open, selling trophies, gifts, and etching and embroidery services.

Their lone employee Judy, furloughed for several months, is now back at work. 

"The future is always bright. It has to be We have to reach out for that success," said Holmes. 

Holmes says a big part of their business comes from schools and sports teams, and says she's relying on those markets bouncing back to help keep them in business.

One empty storefront was once Together Forever Wedding Boutique. 

Now, that business is run entirely online.

That's after the shop was closed for good four months ago.

Bill Tanghe has been running his store "That's Worth Framing" for about 20 years.

While optimistic about the future, he's upset about the economy at all levels, which he describes as "devastated". 

"We've lost more jobs.  We have more people destitute than have ever been destitute before and the worst part is costs keep going up.  We are going to be up to four dollars a gallon for gas here pretty soon," said Tanghe.

Thankfully for Tanghe, sales at his frame shop have remained steady through the pandemic.  

Looking ahead to April 1st, he's planning to open another business around the corner, "The Design Collections".

The owner of Yellow Mart says they've kept their doors open through the pandemic, and says they're sales have remained steady. 

That is thanks in part to continued strong demand for firearms and ammunition, which account for a  portion of the store's sales. 

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Tom Tucker

Tom Tucker is a veteran broadcast journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. Learn more about Tom here.

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