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Local Boutique Survives Amidst Recession

La Bonita workers say customer satisfaction is key to a successful business.

For over 18 years has been providing South Gate residents with trendy women’s apparel, accessories and children’s clothing at relatively low prices.

The boutique, which is part of South Gate’s , has managed to stay open despite the national economic recession.

 “Business before the recession was at 100 percent, now we are at maybe 70 percent of what it was before,” said Eduardo Diaz, co-owner of the store.

Although the store experiences more sales during the holiday season, Diaz admitted that the last few Christmas’s have not been as profitable. The problem is not just that there is less people buying, but also that the people who are buying are purchasing less items.  

“They have less money to spend, so they spend less,” said Diaz, who also noted that customers have complained about unemployment or the reduction of their work hours.

Celia Viramontes, La Bonita’s only store employee, has also noticed a drastic drop in the number of shoppers.

“The store would be filled [with people],” said Viramontes, when remembering how the store would also have a great number of customers outside of the holiday season. “Now it is not that way.”

Today most people come to La Bonita looking for sales or to window-shop. In fact, it is mostly loyal clients who do pop in to buy things.

 “[Our regular customers] do come about two to three times a week, at least for some earrings,” said Viramontes.

With people holding on to their wallets Viramontes and Diaz have stepped up their customer service to lure more business. Both are making use of their friendly personalities, while also working hard to know the needs of their clients in an attempt to raise sales.

For example, as 58-year-old South Gate resident, Blanca Peñado, walked into the store Viramontes was quick to greet her and to suggest clothes.

 “I come here because they have pretty styles and it is not too expensive,” said Peñado who has been coming to the store regularly for about four years.

Until now the store has been able to stay open seven days a week without having to cut its hours of operation. However, Diaz has considered the possibility of closing on Sundays because of low sales.

 “The only thing one wants is to survive this crisis, and if we survive, we will continue [to be] here,” asserted Diaz. 

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