COSTA MESA (CBSLA) — John Wang hasn't had a lot to smile about in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but that's about to change.
Like other restaurants, Wang's Golden Dragon in Costa Mesa had to close its indoor dining room — slowing business dramatically.
"We're down to about 30%," he said. "It's hard."
But Wang got an unexpected surprise from Medi Bendanna, a fellow westside merchant who wants to see the restaurant reopen.
"It's a mom and pop shop," he said. "They make the best taco in town, and they've been doing it for many years, but they're not really good at filling out forms."
Early on in the pandemic, the owner of Best Framing was able to order acrylic sheets that he used to design protective barriers — barriers that he is now gifting to mom and pop businesses that need a helping hand.
"My goal is not to sell [acrylic barriers], I want to sell picture frames," Bendanna said. "But in order for me to sell picture frames, I want these businesses to open back up. I want my community to go back to work."
Through the CARES Act, Costa Mesa was able to give grants totaling $1.7 million to business owners, but Mayor Katrina Foley said there were many who needed the financial support but were not adept at navigating the application process.
"We want to make sure that everyone has an access to being able to reopen, and a lot of people didn't know how to apply for the grants because they didn't know that they were even available," she said. "They were just trying to survive."
Some of those who did get money are now on Bendanna's list.
"This is wonderful," Wang said. "It's a blessing from everyone there."
Best Framing is donating $5,000 worth of acrylic barriers to local businesses and will provide new signage so they are in compliance and ready to reopen as soon as they get the green light from the county.
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