Food entrepreneurs on the verge of opening brick-and-mortar locations retool their businesses — and find silver linings
BY Rachel Leibrock PHOTOS BY Debbie Cunningham
Jaeda Barnes and her husband , Len Barnes , were preparing to open Good Vibes Vegan Cafe & Herbs in Midtown Sacramento when the pandemic hit . Now they only do deliveries .
Jaeda Barnes is passionate about wellness , so in 2017 when she adopted a vegan diet , she embraced it with her usual all-or-nothing mindset , sharing tips and meals with friends and family . Barnes soon decided her mission needed a bigger platform , and by early 2020 , she and her husband , Len Barnes , were on track to launch a Midtown Sacramento brick-andmortar spot , Good Vibes Vegan Cafe & Herbs . Then the world shut down . In mid-March , a shelter-in-place order shuttered much of California as a protection against spreading COVID-19 — and put many businesses , including restaurants , in a bind .
Mandated dining closures meant losing huge swaths of customers — and revenue . For a restaurant yet to open , it also meant possibly failing before ever getting a legitimate start .
Barnes , however , was determined to not lose all the capital and sweat equity she and her husband had already poured into Good Vibes . Instead , she retooled their business model .
Barnes is one of many Sacramento entrepreneurs who , when forced to consider what it means to launch a business during a time of crisis , realized there could be a plant-based silver lining . “ I ’ m not the type to face a roadblock and be done with it ,” Barnes says . “ We kept rolling with it .” Just as Barnes and her husband found inspiration in a tough situation , others say it also helped them boost their fledgling businesses . Now these startup entrepreneurs can ’ t imagine returning to their pre-lockdown vision .