'Things will get better:' Yreka family keeps two businesses afloat during pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a trying time for everyone to cope with. This includes local businesses, which have struggled since March to stay afloat.
Two Yreka businesses run by one family – the Paredes – have worked hard to continue to keep their livelihood going and to serve their community.
"It's been pretty hard. This year has been the most brutal for us with our businesses. We've certainly have had a drop in customers at both businesses, but we're surviving," said Tito Pardes. He, his mom and dad, his wife, and his sister all help run the Mexican eatery Ke'Tacos at 1009 S. Main Street and Atizapan Tennis Shoes and Mexican Store at 213 S. Broadway.
Tito said the community has come out to support them, which helps.
"Things have been picked up more and more each week," Tito said. "The restaurant is doing well, and we're getting full again. It's been awesome. We needed that."
Ke'Tacos serves up Mexican fare like tacos, tortas and weekly specials, as well as specialty breakfasts. Their reviews are stellar; people rave about their homemade salsas and sauces, as well as friendly, attentive service.
Tito said his family has received COVID-19 business grants, including a grant from Siskiyou County, which has helped them stay afloat during the pandemic. He believes the businesses wouldn't have survived without this assistance.
The family tried to keep Ke' Tacos open for takeout when the shutdown began in March but they ended up closing in April due to a lack of business. They reopened when state guidelines allowed them to serve dine-in customers starting in July.
Since Atizapan is not considered an essential service, its door remained shut until June. The store specializes in Mexican food items like candies and other treats, as well as shoes like Vans, backpacks and hats.
Tito said business at Atizapan has come in waves: one week it's quite steady, while the next week is much slower.
A problem they have been coping with, he said, is stocking their shelves. Due to distribution issues because of the pandemic, it has been harder to receive items in a timely fashion from distributors. Tito said larger stores are given priority, while smaller-scale mom and pop businesses like theirs are further down the priority list, resulting in longer waits and fewer items in stock.
"A lot of times, we get the last picks since we're a smaller scale business," he said. "It's going OK, but it would help to be able to have our shelves more stocked. Hopefully, things will get better soon."
Tito was encouraged when it was announced earlier this week that Siskiyou County had been moved to the least restrictive of California’s four COVID-19 reopening tiers – the yellow tier – along with Trinity and Humboldt.
As of Tuesday, there have been a total of 171 confirmed cases in the county since April and five active cases.
"I think it's good for our county that we're not seeing as many cases," said Tito. "Hopefully, we can get things more back to normal little by little."
Ke'Tacos is currently open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and can be reached at (530) 643-8161. Atizapan is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. They can be reached at (530) 340-0778.
"The community has had our back and has supported us during all of this," said Tito. "We're blessed although there have been struggles. We'll survive and fight through it."
While things have been tough, he said it has been hard for everyone, and they still try to support the county whenever they can. This includes donating food and other items to those that lost their homes in the Slater Fire Happy Camp and also donating meals to firefighters.
"We want to help and serve our community," Tito said. "We love our county. This is our home. We need to take care of our home no matter what:"
Tito had words of encouragement for those that are struggling. "Just keep fighting," he said. "Things will get better."