Lindsay Chamber of Commerce holds two ribbon cuttings in two weeks, including dress shop and Mexican restaurant
LINDSAY – Virginia Loya has owned a business in Lindsay since the good old days, when the small city’s downtown had window-dressed department stores, bustling packing houses, and enough foot traffic to be the envy of other cities. But since opening Virginia’s Hair Studio in 1990, the city’s downtown has fallen on hard times, leaving Loya as one of the few businesses to survive major closures, three citrus freezes, two recessions, a drought, and a pandemic.
Despite all of that, Loya remains optimistic about the future of doing business in Lindsay. She even held a grand opening and ribbon cutting for her new business, a dress shop, last week as evidence she’s all-in on downtown Lindsay. The four-hour event included live entertainment, free shrimp tacos and raffling off a free quinceañera dress.
“This is something I have wanted to do for a long time and I felt like now was the right time,” Loya said.
The dress boutique will carry wedding, first communion and baptismal dresses but specialize in quinceañera dresses. Loya says her shop is the only one in the Central Valley to carry designs by Perfect Dress, a dress company based in Guadalajara, Mexico widely known throughout Mexico. With a slogan of “designing your dream,” the company boasts hand-made dresses with fine fabrics and exclusive styles to match personalities both modern and classic. For more information, visit prefectdress15.com.mx.
“They only do quinceañera dresses and they are beautiful and unique,” Loya said.
Virginia’s Hair Studio & Boutique is located at 275 N. Elmwood Ave. in Lindsay but have separate entrances at the front of the building. The salon is by appointment only but the dress boutique is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Loya said she dedicates each Saturday at the hair salon for weddings, quinceañeras, anniversaries and other special occasions so offering clothing styles to go along with hair styles made sense. For more information on the shops, call 559-562-3200.
Some might take the co-located businesses as a sign of hard times, but Loya said opening the dress shop required hiring an employee, the first time she has done that in nearly two years.
“I was able to stay open and I really didn’t see a lot of business close in the last year,” Loya said. “Yes they struggled, but most of them were able to stay open.”
Loya is also the director of the Lindsay Chamber of Commerce and said she has seen other businesses open in town recently. At the end of last month, the chamber held a ribbon cutting for El Rincon del Sabor, a Mexican restaurant whose name translates to “The Flavor Corner.” The restaurant is located at 246 N. Elmwood Avenue behind the Dollar General. Loya said the owners have sold food at the Swap Meet in Strathmore for several years but are now trying their hand at owning a restaurant.
Two more ribbon cuttings are potentially coming up on the chamber’s calendar this month. A cell phone shop at the corner of Samoa and Elmwood has said they were interested in planning a ribbon cutting and Loya said she recently reached out to a second-hand store which opened six months ago and is now ready to welcome in more customers.
“We’ve had three businesses open in the last month and I see things are ready to get going again,” she said.
Loya has seen the ups and downs of the Lindsay Chamber since opening her hair salon in 1990. When Loya joined the chamber as a volunteer in 2004, it seemed like things would never get better. She took on more of a leadership role later that year when Carolyn Callison, who had been executive director for seven years, took a medical leave. That year Loya watched the chamber lose funding from the city, lose its bookkeeper, watched as its board turned over, all while trying to get a massive new project off the ground in the Friday Night Market. But that project turned out to be a boon for the chamber.
The city took the market away from the chamber in 2019 and outsourced it to a group out of Selma. While most would have washed their hands of the organization, Loya kept cutting hair at her salon, answering phone calls and waiting for the right moment to build the chamber up once again.
“I see more people out, restaurants reopening and new businesses,” Loya said. “I also think a lot of people are waiting for June 15 but then will be full steam after that.”