Cute Cakes, an Escondido small business, is part of Innovate 78, a local business booster. Photo credit: @78Corridor, via Facebook

In the holiday season’s waning days, Innovate78 wants to remind North County residents that local businesses are open for shopping cheer.

Moreover, those businesses need the community’s patronage more than ever due to the COVID-19 surge, which has forced new limits on shops, restaurants and more.

“After changing how they do business, complying with health orders, and keeping us safe, shopping with small businesses this holiday season is the best way we can all show our support,” said Amber Tarrac, Escondido’s deputy director of economic development.

Innovate78, managed by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, supports businesses along the state route 78 corridor.

The businesses represented by the project are located in Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista.

North County’s retail, lifestyle and hospitality sector provides customers with options for “homemade treats and festive drinks that might (otherwise) be missing from our tables this year,” said Kierstin Rielly, Innovate78’s program manager.

Business owners know too that these personal touches are even more precious as pandemic safety measures force families to keep their celebrations smaller or more remote than usual.

“We are thankful for the chance to be part of any family’s tradition, but this year, we are even more honored to think that we might be able to lend that touch of delicious goodness that is a hallmark of the holidays,” said Paola Richard of GelatoLove in Carlsbad.

Kris Anacleto, of Booze Brothers Brewing in Oceanside and Vista, noted that even in a small business “it has been really difficult to maintain that sense of togetherness.

“If we can help friends and families raise a glass together – virtually or otherwise – we are fulfilling our vision of crafting beer worthy of any gathering, and it’s all the more rewarding this year,” Anacleto said.

Innovate78 also provides resources for business owners and entrepreneurs, from virtual event information to a data dashboard.

Outside of retail and restaurants, Innovate78 represents businesses in other key North County industries – including life sciences, higher education, information technology, manufacturing, pharma and health care.

– Staff reports

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