SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- No matter how you slice it, the past year under the COVID-19 pandemic has not been easy for many businesses.
However, a San Jose woman, known for her homemade pies, has found sweet success. Voahangy Rasetarinera has finally opened her very own storefront.
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Back then, Rasetarinera was a one-woman team, turning out homemade pies from her San Jose kitchen. In an effort to expand her business, she set out for a storefront of her own.
"I really wanted that face-to-face connection with the client," she told ABC7 News on Friday. "Because most of the time, they'd come and pick up, and say, 'Bye bye.' Here, at least I get to talk to them, interact with them."
The interaction she was longing for was made challenging by the pandemic.
"I was at City Hall getting my permit on the day, right before the shutdown," Rasetarinera said.
She eventually landed on a location in the city's Willow Glen neighborhood, at 569 W Alma Ave.
But rent, ever-changing reopening guidelines, construction costs and her usual corporate customers had all been impacted by COVID-19.
"So I was like, 'Oh my gosh! How are we going to make it,'" Rasetarinera shared.
Her winning recipe included farmers markets, fulfilling orders in her new commercial kitchen and following county guidance.
The former IT admin explained she went from dishing out a couple dozen pies a day in her home kitchen, to a couple hundred a day at her storefront.
The Giving Pies storefront officially opened in early February, with Rasetarinera adding a part-time worker to her team.
As business continues to heat up, the hardship brought on by COVID-19 hasn't been lost on the people craving pie.
"That's what I'm here for too," customer, Victoria Amparo told ABC7 News. "Because I know a lot of like, stores closed down since the pandemic. So, I feel bad.
Now Rasetarinera's goal is to give back to the community that has kept her in business.
"This year, I would like to have at least two part-time special needs employees," she shared. "That's my driving force. I want to have them have a voice. I want to have them feel, you know, valued, believed in."
When asked if she had any advice for other business owners, Rasetarinera said, "Don't quit."
"We are all together in this, and that's really true," she continued. "People really want to rally behind you and make you successful."
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