Ramona Year in Review: For businesses, 2023 was the year of the Main Street shuffle

Main Street has been buzzing with activity this year: New businesses have joined the ranks, old favorites have changed locations and some have closed their doors permanently.

Vintage Vibes at 652 Main St. closed at the end of September after being open for two years. Diana Taylor, who co-owns the store with her husband, Brian, said she wanted to be able to spend more time with her family.

While Vintage Vibes was open, Taylor said she was able to engage in her love for antiques, making sure the pieces found the right home.

Diana Taylor, owner of Vintage Vibes, in front of one of her favorite art pieces

(Noah Harrel)

“The toughest part about closing the shop, and it’s a choice, is going to be not seeing people all the time,” Taylor said. “I’m going to have to spend more time in the grocery store.”

Following the closure of Vintage Vibes, Rustic Interiors co-owners Carrie Bryant and Andrea Delgado moved their store into the space to accommodate for their rapidly growing business. The store officially opened in November.

Rustic Interiors upgraded from 480 square feet to 3,000, and will be able to focus on larger pieces and more products, Bryant said.

The walls of the store are filled with such artworks as cattle horns and cowboy boots with succulents growing out of them created by Ramona resident and artist Barbara Folts, Bryant said.

The move took place right after the one-year anniversary of Rustic Interiors opening just down the street from its new location.

Cattle Dog Cafe’s new home inside Rustic Interiors.

(Noah Harrel)

Rustic Interiors shoppers are now greeted by employees of Cattle Dog Cafe, which is sharing the space. The owners of the popular coffee shop were faced with the tough decision to close their doors at 632 Main St. at the end of September.

Chelsea Schoeni, co-owner with her husband, Steve, said she decided to move because of the increasing rent. She took a month off and explored her options for the coffee shop.

The location and space were part of what drew Schoeni to partner with Byrant and Delgado to reopen Cattle Dog Cafe in Rustic Interiors. All three of the business owners saw the opportunity for potential with their collaboration, she said.

Schoeni is hoping to keep Cattle Dog Cafe in its new location as long as she can.

“As long as it can be there I will be there,” she said. “However it’s on wheels now so if something were to catastrophically happen I have the ability to roll it out and go somewhere else.”

The moves by Rustic Interiors and Cattle Dog Cafe opened two more spots on Main Street, which were quickly filled by new business The CLM (Coffee, Love and Magic) Tee Shop and community mainstay Mamma Ramona’s Pizzeria.

The CLM Tee Shop opened its doors in the old Rustic Interiors location at 603 Main St. as a custom apparel printing and boutique gift shop on Nov. 4.

Owner Carene Bauza said she started with her brand and apparel store online, and after moving to Ramona two and a half years ago decided to take it to a brick and mortar.

Carene Bauza, owner of CLM Tee Shop in the boutique shop area of her new brick and motar store.

(Noah Harrel)

The store is divided into two sections, Bauza said. The front of the store is the Coffee, Love and Magic boutique gift shop area, and behind the counter is the print shop, named after the boutique.

The boutique area features books, jewelry, candles and decor, all sourced from small batch and handcrafted local businesses.

“I’m all about small businesses and supporting small businesses, so that is the goal of the shop, to bring in small batch artisans,” she said.

Mamma Ramona’s Pizzeria moved into Cattle Dog Cafe’s former location. Owner Andrew Simmons said he was grateful for getting a smaller space than the old spot on D Street that had much higher rent. Mamma Ramona’s is now less than 10% the size of its former space, going from 5,000 square feet to just a couple hundred.

Mamma Ramona’s Pizzeria has moved to a new location now at 632 Main Street.

(Noah Harrel)

Since the move, business has almost tripled, Simmons said.

The majority of the pizzeria is now dedicated to the kitchen, with a grab-and-go slice station across from the counter and just two tables outside for seating. Simmons said he found this set up to be more appropriate, since 85% of orders in the last several years were carry-out and delivery at his restaurant.

“Yeah, we had 5,000 square feet, but no one really dines in anymore,” he said. “It’s not like down the hill where there might be huge numbers of people.”

Recently vacated and yet to be occupied locations on Main Street include Rite Aid, which closed on Oct. 19, and Valencia’s Crem De La Crem, which closed a couple weeks ago.

Local artist Linda Kelly got creative in finding a place for her gallery on Main Street. It occupies the lobby area of Town & Country Real Estate and Home Loans at 976 Main St.

Linda Kelly, an artist for more than 30 years, specializes in acrylic mixed media and watercolors.

(Julie Gallant)

Stephanie Norvell, president of Town & Country Real Estate and Home Loans, said she has known Kelly for many years and had seen her artwork and former gallery. When Kelly told her about the lack of space at her previous gallery, Norvell offered to let her rent the lobby space from her.

“I just came back from Laguna and the festival of the arts up there,” Norvell said. “I noticed that there were other art studios that were compounded with other businesses where you walked into a lobby and it was the art studio and it had all these separate offices, different businesses.”

The lobby space of Town & Country Real Estate and Home Loans is now decked out with art of all kinds, each created by Kelly and each with its own story.

“It brings everyone in,” Kelly said. “It’s a whole feeling of art the whole time.”

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3 thoughts on “Ramona Year in Review: For businesses, 2023 was the year of the Main Street shuffle

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