H-SANTA MARIA

Feb 21, 2012 8:38 PM by Nikki Ibarra

Santa Maria business owners to take survey about local economy

The Central Coast is showing some signs of economic growth. Large chains, like Chipotle and David's Bridal, will open their doors this spring in Santa Maria.

The city's Economic Development Commission is taking a survey to see how local businesses are doing, and how they feel going into the new year.

The commission conducts two surveys a year. In the previous survey, the commission found smaller companies have been hurting the most in Santa Maria. This time around, they want to see if that's still the case.

"It's been good. It kind of slowed down during the holiday. You can definitely tell like, when people are like, pinching pennies," said Sarah Jackson, hair stylist at Salon Arad.

For Sarah Jackson, business has been relatively good. She started doing hair before the recession hit in 2008. "It was good, a lot more up sales, like a lot more color, cut and other things with it," said Jackson. Now, she said her clients come in just for the basics.

The same goes for small business owner David Joy of Lombards Stereo. "Now people have to save money to buy things like that, and it's a planned purchase so it's not something that you just [say], I think I'll buy a pair of speakers," said Joy.

He said business these days is just flat. "You're just maintaining through, you know. It's a tougher period so you're just trying to maintain through the period and then, you know, once things get better, as they always do, then we can pick back up," said Joy.

Now the Santa Maria Economic Development Commission wants more feedback from business owners. They hope these large companies opening chains here will bring in much needed business.

"By bringing companies in, by creating economic development through retail, through projects, getting people back to work again, that's how we create economic development and create jobs," said Dave Cross, commission director.

The commission also hopes the new businesses will generate much needed jobs to help cut down the city's 12% unemployment rate.

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