H-SANTA MARIA

Apr 10, 2012 10:29 PM by Nikki Ibarra

Survey: Local business owners optimistic about future

Some local business owners in Santa Maria are feeling rather optimistic about how business is going.

This, according to a new survey, conducted by the Economic Development Commission. Although the results showed things are looking up, there are some areas that aren't doing so well.

The survey showed larger businesses, of 100 or more employees, are doing much better than in 2011; with smaller businesses hurting. The overall manufacturing and industrial sectors are seeing good business, but retail and construction continue to struggle.

The survey also showed that the start of this year was much better than the start of 2011.

For Patricia Wonnell, business at her boutique has been going fairly well. She opened Wam Boutique, off Betteravia, just a little over a year ago. But business hasn't always been this good. In fact, last April was her worst month.

"We just made some changes in here. We continued to grow what our customers were asking for because we're small, we have the ability to order on a smaller basis," said Wonnell.

Although the survey's results showed retail was struggling, for Patricia, that's not the case.

But for Dino Cosma at K.J. Cain, a construction company, things have been pretty tough for the past 7 years.

"A lot of our local economy was driven by construction, so when it went away, I mean, you figure we had 100 people, you take those 100 people away, where are they now?," added Cosma.

At K.J. Cain, they've had to make a lot of changes to stay in business. In fact, there used to be over 100 employees; now, there's only 14.

Dino and his crew are currently working on the new firehouse off Donovan.

Overall, he does see business improving. But whether or not it will stay like that, leaves him a little hesitant.

"I have the nightmares every once in a while that you wake up and there's no work, and you're looking for a job. So am I confident? No. But I feel that it could be moving in the right direction," said Cosma.

The survey is done twice a year. The next one will be in August.

About 200 business owners completed this survey.

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