Coronavirus Impact: Brand new boutique shop Write That Down shuts down 2 months after opening

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Valli Hilaire is the owner of Write That Down, a modern stationary and gift boutique in Walnut Creek. The store opened in January of this year and, roughly two months later, closed its doors due to coronavirus restrictions in Contra Costa County.

"It's a risk in general to start a business. You have no idea, you can plan, you can do all the research. I never in a million years thought a pandemic...it's something so completely out of my control that all you can do is let go and just let it happen," said Hilaire.

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Hilaire tried her best to keep the store while under mandatory closure, applying for every type of financial assistance available to businesses during the shutdown.

"Not having that financial help to get through this is especially frustrating because a lot of the programs that are out there are not meant for businesses that just started this year. They're meant for businesses that have been around for at least a year or two years. That is extremely frustrating to me because all I want to do is keep my little shop going...and I can't."

After three months of trying to keep her store afloat, Hilaire had to close the store for good. Write That Down has been shut down longer than it had been open.

"We are all affected, every single person in this country is affected negatively in some way in that this has changed everybody's life. But I feel like this situation in particular, I was just getting started."

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Since closing the store, Hilaire has tried to keep her business going online, something that doesn't fit well with her overall business model. A lot of the items that she sells are handcrafted and she says her customers like to see and feel the items before buying. She also relied on holding workshops at the store location.

"A huge part of my business plan was events and having people in store, taking classes and workshops. I miss that aspect of it, it was my favorite thing. We only got to do like three classes before we had to close and they were so much fun, and I love that interaction and I want that back."

Despite the rough beginning to her entrepreneurial dreams, Hilaire is determined to work hard until she can open a new location.

"I never thought, 'oh this is the end, I'll never do this again, this is over, I tried.' No, that's not in me, that's not that's not who I am," said Hilaire. "I know that it can be very successful and something really amazing. I'm definitely not giving up, it's going to happen."

For more information on Write That Down, click here.



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