The COVID-19 outbreak and resulting economic shutdown has had a crushing impact on Long Beach’s small businesses. Recently, as some store owners began preparations for re-opening, months after they’d closed their doors to the public, civil unrest added to the challenges for beleaguered business owners.
Some businesses, however, have been spared from the impacts of the coronavirus and the recent unrest in the city. Frank Yanonis is a Long Beach native and owner of Save The Day Restoration, and he says he’s been fortunate in recent months, dodging the challenges that have plagued so many of his colleagues. His company provides a variety of construction and restoration services for businesses, ranging from mold remediation, fire or water damage repairs, and cleaning and sanitization services.
“When COVID came, it didn’t hurt my business one bit,” Yanonis admitted. “I didn’t skip a beat, which was very fortunate for me, but very unfortunate for a lot of businesses. I have friends of mine that have big businesses who lost millions of dollars overnight because of this. It’s very, very tough out there.”
Since Yanonis was lucky enough to avoid those economic hardships in his business, he wanted to find a way to give back to the community. The Wilson High grad put out a special offer to the community via his company’s Facebook page, offering a free car sanitization for any first responder or healthcare worker in Long Beach. The car washes were offered every Saturday in May at the Save The Day Restoration headquarters in Signal Hill.
After getting 15 cars that first Saturday, word began to spread online. All told, Yanonis estimates that more than 150 cars came through to get professionally cleaned and sanitized for free.
“The reason I did it is, I’m very blessed in life,” Yanonis explained. “Whether it comes to business, family, I’m one of the lucky ones where COVID didn’t affect me. So I figured, I’ll give back to the community. I’ve got people in my family who are nurses, doctors and police officers. So I wanted to give back to the community, because I was born and raised in Long Beach.”
In addition to the challenges of a global pandemic, small businesses also faced the challenges of rioting and looting across Southern California during the last weekend of May. This presented another opportunity for Yanonis to assist business owners. The weekend the looting began, Yanonis and his crew were boarding up a customer’s storefront on Hollywood Boulevard, where several businesses were also attempting to secure their stores.
Yanonis was approached by a manager of the Hustler shop on Hollywood Boulevard to board up their windows, which led to a wave of business all down the street. According to Yanonis, his crew of five workers, two trucks and about 200 pieces of plywood secured about 40 businesses that day. After dealing with several paying customers, Yanonis says he continued to secure the businesses that needed help, free of charge.
“I went out there to board some stuff out, then I felt bad for places that were already out of business because of COVID,” Yanonis said. “They were getting ready to open up, now they’ve got busted windows. Then I said, ‘You know what, dude? I made some money over here, let me throw these five boards up for you.’”
Business continues to hum along for Save The Day Restoration, including some construction work at stores in the new PCH & 2nd shopping center. The company will also be providing sanitization services for companies looking to get as clean as possible before opening back up to the public.
“I was doing board-ups Monday morning in Downtown Long Beach,” Yanonis said, referring to the first day following the looting around the city. “It was a great feeling to live in Long Beach and be a Long Beacher, because I went there with a team of guys at about 7:30 in the morning, and there were thousands of people doing cleanup. It just felt good to be down there and be part of what’s going on. It was a great feeling. If there’s any business in Long Beach that needs some help, if I can help, I’ll be happy to do it.”
Photo courtesy Save The Day Restoration