Sew O’Side, a sewing shop, received district Small Business of the Year honors, in part, for their quick pandemic mask-making response. Photo credit: @sewoside, via Facebook

Sew O’side, a sewing supply and fabric store, has been named the 2020 California Small Business of the Year for Assembly District 76 by Assembly member Tasha Boerner Horvath.

Each year, the California Assembly and Senate select a small business in each district to be recognized for contributions to the community. In addition, October is National Women’s Small Business Month.

Boerner Horvath said her office selected Sew O’Side because of “the outstanding efforts of its owner and staff to use their skills to provide North County with valuable services during the ongoing pandemic.

“Small businesses in particular have had to navigate so much uncertainty in these past few months,” she said. “Despite it all, the crew at Sew O’side has really gone above and beyond to innovate, adapt and take care of their neighbors.”

Amanda Gerard, the store’s owner, opened Sew O’side in 2018 as a sewing equipment and fabric store offering classes and sewing camps.

But when public health officials started recommending the use of facial coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the team sewed more than 5,000 masks, and donated hundreds of yards of material and other supplies. They also created how-to videos and supply kits so residents could make their own.

“In a moment when the whole world stopped, Sew O’side was able to change direction to service the community by sharing our talents,” Gerard said.

She added, “We have been overwhelmingly blessed by our community and their support in return.”

The legislature’s tradition of celebrating small businesses from each district began 20 years ago with HR 57, establishing California Small Business Day. The event also recognized the growing number of women-owned small businesses in the state.

Boerner Horvath and several of her colleagues chose to honor small businesses that have demonstrated resilience and community spirit during the pandemic.

“Amanda Gerard and her team at Sew O’side are a shining example of how a business can adapt their operations to serve their community in challenging times,” said Scott Ashton, CEO of the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce.

– Staff reports

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