‘Everything I have is riding on this’: College Area consignment shop prepares to reopen

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SAN DIEGO – Trisha Donnelly is a small business owner getting ready to reopen Friday after closing down for more than two months.

Trisha Donnelly, owner of Looks Better On Me, a consignment boutique in the College Area.

“I’ve gone through the gamut of feelings — from fear, desperation, excitement,” Donnelly said. “Everything I have is riding on this.”

Six years ago, Donnelly opened Looks Better On Me, a consignment boutique shop in the College Area. A single mom, Donnelly said it’s been “touch-and-go” keeping the business afloat.

“In February, just found out (we) started making a little money,” she said. “(We were) looking forward to hiring someone, expanding hours … Two weeks later, the pandemic hit.”

The past year has been difficult for Donnelly. In August, her shop was burglarized; later in November, a storm flooded it, shutting her down for several days. Donnelly said she was feeling pretty low, particularly as the county’s COVID-19 lockdown lingered on.

“I really started to be like, ‘Wow, after the robbery the flood, everything I’ve been through this year – this is going to take me out,'” she said.

During the lockdown, Donnelly said she did not receive government assistance, even as her landlord gave her a temporary break on rent. Now, she’s got the store ready to receive customers again, following local guidelines requiring face coverings, social distancing and limiting the number of people in the store at one time.

“We’re sanitizing everything,” she said.

Donnelly said she’s grateful to reopen. But staying open might be the next challenge.

“Building a business is extremely difficult — emotionally, physically, financially,” she said. “If it doesn’t kinda snowball back into business this next two or three months, I don’t see it making it.”

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