A photo of an art piece at A Colorful Universe in San Marcos. Courtesy photo

Adina Johnston said she went from being worried to “extremely worried” in just a matter of weeks. The business owner of A Colorful Universe in San Marcos said she was forced to “rethink” her business strategy when the new coronavirus prompted a statewide stay-at-home order in March.

Four months later, it’s even harder to keep her doors open, Johnston said.

A Colorful Universe is a popular drop-in art studio in the North County neighborhood of San Elijo Hills. The business allows customers to pick out a canvas such as a vase or mug to paint in-studio. However, when non-essential businesses were ordered to close their doors earlier this year, Johnston said she was forced to make changes.

“Running a business is already hard, and now I not only had to worry about my personal finances and the future of the business, but also my employees’ well-being,” Johnston said. “With this all in mind, I had to completely rethink how we were going to survive, which was made even more difficult by the sudden lack of resources.”

Johnston said she revamped her website to cater to online consumers and create to-go art kits.

But, that was just the brink of the changes. Now that summer is underway, Johnston said it will be harder than ever to keep her doors open.

“When COVID first hit, I was worried, but I am extremely worried now,” Johnston said. “Our business relies heavily on the summer camps. The profit from camps carry us through the entire year. With the stay-at-home order, I knew our ability to offer camp was going to be severely limited.”

Johnston said she had to change her summer camps from 25 children a day to eight children to cater to social distancing orders. On some days, only five children come.

Despite the challenges that have been thrown her way, Johnston said she’s thankful for the community support she has received. Community organizations have purchased materials through her business to create murals and a GoFundMe campaign raised $2,000 for her business.

“We’re so thankful to be located in such a supportive community that truly wishes to see us succeed,” Johnston said. “Through it all, I’ve felt a stronger connection between our store and the community and I’m incredibly grateful.”

Johnston said her biggest ask to spread the word that A Colorful Universe is still in operation.

“My current plan is to continue to push through these trying times,” Johnston said. “I am very optimistic.”

A Colorful Universe is currently hosting summer camps, Zoom classes and art kits. For more information, go to www.acolorfuluniverse.com.

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