Nevada City businesses feel impact without traditional ‘Victorian Christmas’

Amid the pandemic, the Christmas season is looking different this year, especially in Nevada City.Businesses in the Gold Country town rely on the annual Victorian Christmas event to make most of their profit for the year. Usually, the streets of downtown are bustling with thousands of visitors, vendors and musicians […]

Amid the pandemic, the Christmas season is looking different this year, especially in Nevada City.Businesses in the Gold Country town rely on the annual Victorian Christmas event to make most of their profit for the year. Usually, the streets of downtown are bustling with thousands of visitors, vendors and musicians all month long. But this year, it is much quieter.The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce reimagined the event amid the pandemic and regional stay-at-home order, canceling the street fair and instead putting an emphasis on curbside pickup, online shopping and virtual or self-guided tours.“It’s kind of erratic. We have good days, very quiet days,” said Jick Icasiano.Icasiano owns the gift shop Gold Mountain on Broad Street. And for some stores, like Mary Mary gift shop, they are seeing more quiet days.“We have fewer people coming to town, fewer shoppers. Of course the inns are closed so they can’t spend the night. There’s nowhere to eat. There’s no bar open. So it’s a big deterrent to all business,” said owner Lee Gaede.Gaede is down $10,000 this year compared to last year. She said December is when she normally makes 70% of her annual profit.“Christmas is our only season,” she said. “I’m lucky, I can stay open at 20% capacity. But if everybody is in lockdown and is supposed to stay home, what good does that do?”Next door, business is picking up at The Truffle Shop. Owner Rudy Udarbe said that is because he already had mail-in service set up.“Everybody’s coming back and remembering that I’m here, so business has really picked up quite a bit,” he said.But Udarbe added that one spike in business will not necessarily make up for everything already lost during the pandemic. That is why shop owners are grateful for people who are consistently supporting local businesses.“Keep doing it!” said Icasiano. “We need the local and the out-of-towners, both.”On Saturday, Jeff Slater and Miki Martin traveled from Sacramento to do their Christmas shopping in Nevada City.“We have passion for the local business people, especially for this year,” Martin said.Slater agreed.“We really want to support local stores and so we don’t go to the malls, we come here,” he said. “We’ve been the last three weekends hitting the Foothills and today is Nevada City’s turn.”People who live in Nevada City are also trying to do their part with everyday shopping needs. The Lea family visited the farmer’s market for ingredients for their next meal.“Everything we could do this year to buy locally we did,” said Travis Lea.With an annual community event essentially canceled this year, Nevada City businesses are relying on their community to survive.

Amid the pandemic, the Christmas season is looking different this year, especially in Nevada City.

Businesses in the Gold Country town rely on the annual Victorian Christmas event to make most of their profit for the year. Usually, the streets of downtown are bustling with thousands of visitors, vendors and musicians all month long. But this year, it is much quieter.

The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce reimagined the event amid the pandemic and regional stay-at-home order, canceling the street fair and instead putting an emphasis on curbside pickup, online shopping and virtual or self-guided tours.

“It’s kind of erratic. We have good days, very quiet days,” said Jick Icasiano.

Icasiano owns the gift shop Gold Mountain on Broad Street. And for some stores, like Mary Mary gift shop, they are seeing more quiet days.

“We have fewer people coming to town, fewer shoppers. Of course the inns are closed so they can’t spend the night. There’s nowhere to eat. There’s no bar open. So it’s a big deterrent to all business,” said owner Lee Gaede.

Gaede is down $10,000 this year compared to last year. She said December is when she normally makes 70% of her annual profit.

“Christmas is our only season,” she said. “I’m lucky, I can stay open at 20% capacity. But if everybody is in lockdown and is supposed to stay home, what good does that do?”

Next door, business is picking up at The Truffle Shop. Owner Rudy Udarbe said that is because he already had mail-in service set up.

“Everybody’s coming back and remembering that I’m here, so business has really picked up quite a bit,” he said.

But Udarbe added that one spike in business will not necessarily make up for everything already lost during the pandemic. That is why shop owners are grateful for people who are consistently supporting local businesses.

“Keep doing it!” said Icasiano. “We need the local and the out-of-towners, both.”

On Saturday, Jeff Slater and Miki Martin traveled from Sacramento to do their Christmas shopping in Nevada City.

“We have passion for the local business people, especially for this year,” Martin said.

Slater agreed.

“We really want to support local stores and so we don’t go to the malls, we come here,” he said. “We’ve been the last three weekends hitting the Foothills and today is Nevada City’s turn.”

People who live in Nevada City are also trying to do their part with everyday shopping needs. The Lea family visited the farmer’s market for ingredients for their next meal.

“Everything we could do this year to buy locally we did,” said Travis Lea.

With an annual community event essentially canceled this year, Nevada City businesses are relying on their community to survive.

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