by Garrick Shafer
Due to financial problems, owners Vinnie and Michelle Griffin permanently closed The Continental Deli and Vinz Wine Bar. These closures, along with other restaurant closures in the past few years on Grand Avenue, have raised questions about what the city is doing to help them be successful.
Vinz Wine bar was open for 11 years and the Continental Deli was open for 52 years. These restaurants were located on the corner of Juniper and Grand Avenue and were in close proximity to many other restaurants on Grand Avenue including H Brothers. Nick Heyayati, owner of H Brothers restaurant, said that Vinnie would stop by from time to time and knew that Vinz Wine Bar and the Continental Deli were struggling. Heyayati said that it seemed like the property owner that rented the buildings to Vinnie “Seems less interested in local businesses prospering and more interested in the idea that the price of their properties will go up in value.”
Scott Schafer, a local corporate attorney who represents several small businesses in Escondido said “I’m sad to see Vinz and the Continental Deli go. After the recession hit, a lot of local businesses struggled to make ends meet. This is still affecting some businesses to this day, but in many ways, things are getting better.” Shafer concluded, “I think Escondido has a big opportunity to increase business in the downtown area during the months when Cruisin’ Grand isn’t bringing consistent foot traffic.
The city of Escondido is taking measures to help small businesses by beautification of the downtown area and hosting events to raise awareness of what Downtown Escondido has to offer.
Beth Stevens, owner of a Grand Avenue boutique called VinKlectic, had some thoughts on this. She said, “The city has revamped and re-planted the median along Grand Avenue. The re-planting included roses and succulents.” She continued saying “The old Palomar hospital will also be replaced with new apartments.” This development will be walking distance from Grand Avenue and will help turn downtown Escondido into a “walking city”.
The city of Escondido also put on an event called “Small Business Saturday” on November 24, 2018. This was an event open to the public and was meant to help the community discover the various small businesses and restaurants that downtown Escondido has to offer.