Owners of business started during pandemic encourage San Diegans to shop small

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ENCINITAS, Calif. — The owners of IvyMay & Co. say they were able to turn a tough situation into a thriving business.

“Back in March, I was let go of work,” co-founder Cody Warden said. “I don’t like to use the word depressed, but I was at odds at what I was supposed to do.”

Warden lost his job as a trainer when coronavirus restrictions caused boxing gyms to close. He said his girlfriend Tammy Nguyen was working from home at the time, and buying and giving a lot of house plants as a new hobby.

“Being able to take care of something, and watching them grow gave a lot of people a sense of hope and improved their mental health during a time that was so unstable and uncomfortable for everyone,” Nguyen said.

The couple decided to turn the hobby into a business and launched a plant delivery service out of their apartment. The business has grown so much over the past few months, they were able to open a new greenhouse in Encinitas.

“There’s no obstacle you can’t overcome,” Warden said. “In boxing, we use the word pivot — to get out of the way and to try a different angle. And that’s exactly what we did.”

Running their new small business comes with a lot of challenges, but they said support from their customers and community helps them roll with the punches. They’re encouraging other San Diegans to support small businesses this holiday season.

“I can’t tell you how much blood, sweat and tears goes into running a small business,” Nguyen said. “This year more than ever, during the pandemic and businesses having to shut down or reduce capacity, it is so important to support small this year.”

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