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Santa Maria Commercial Center Growing in Business and Popularity

Small company owners in a long-dormant commercial zone in Santa Maria are optimistic about the prospects for a successful year in 2022.

It has been years since the Skyway Center, located on the southwest intersection of South Broadway and Lakeview Drive on the city’s southern fringe, was used as a shopping center.

However, in recent years, a slew of new shops and eateries have sprouted in the center, with more expected to arrive in the future.

According to Hannah Golden, owner of the Fire and Vice Restaurant on New York City’s Lower East Side (which debuted just a few months ago), “Our new year will bring us more business, larger and better, I hope.”

In the Skyway Center, Chef Mike McDonald, who established The Salty Brigade Kitchen earlier this year, said, “We’re trying to make it a food destination.” He added that a farmers market in the parking lot is on the cards later on.

A lot of the small company owners in the center have had a difficult time over the past two years navigating Covid-19 public health regulations and standards, closing their establishments and then re-opening them, finding trustworthy employees, and dealing with a variety of supply chain challenges.

“We have a new crew, new individuals, and it’s quite difficult to find decent ones,” said Sun Ho, who established his successful Vietnamese restaurant Viet Kitchen in the Skyway Center three years ago.

“It’s been a big problem not being able to get our supplies in from certain vendors on particular days,” Chef Mike McDonald of The Salty Brigade Kitchen explained.

According to Glenn Morris of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, “many of the companies, when they were allowed to re-open, saw a lot of people come back, but perhaps not their employees, so they’ve been in this sort of a yo-yo cycle for the past two years.”

Tenants of the Skyway Center will stand to gain from a massive new residential building project that is planned directly behind their places of business in the Skyway Center.

The “Elements” project, which has been authorized and permitted, will contain more than 160 housing units and more than 10,000 square feet of commercial space.

The result will be an increase in foot traffic and revenue at the Skyway Center after the renovation has been finished.

A representative from The Salty Brigade Kitchen expressed excitement about the event: “I am looking forward to it tremendously.”

As well as the likelihood of future prosperity for the small company owners at the Skyway Center who have managed to keep their doors open and their lights on despite the difficult economic circumstances.

According to Sun Ho, the owner of the Viet Kitchen, “I hope people start going out and don’t be scared to spend the money, eat nice cuisine, and meet decent people.”

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