Amid shut downs and economic turmoil, some businesses are still on the move

With the county on lockdown and the economy in the tank, there were businesses that were still on the move — and their final destination was Pompano Beach.

“A year ago, if you would have told me during a global pandemic I would have almost closed my business and opened a second business in the thick of it all, no way,” said Jessica Bruno, the owner of Fenom Salon.

A third-generation hair dresser, she first opened her salon in Aventura in 2011. She’s gained a loyal following of customers over the years, but two years ago she and her fiance decided to move from Hollywood to Pompano Beach. She was apprehensive at first, but now she can’t imagine living anywhere else.

With the financial impacts of the coronavirus hitting all industries, she considered closing her Aventura salon and opening one in Pompano. But because of it being so much more affordable, she decided to take a chance and opened a second location inside Sola Salons in Pompano Citi Centre at Federal Highway and Copans Road. She splits her time between both locations, but hopes to eventually be full-time here.

“I love my clients down south in Aventura, so it would be really hard to leave them,” Bruno said. “A lot of them had said they would definitely follow. I do have a lot of people that are moving up this way, as well.”

She’s not the only small business that decided to call Pompano Beach home. Austin Abel, the owner of Viking Customs, relocated from Fort Lauderdale in April. 

“It’s way more economical for business, especially for our business,” he said. 

At the motorcycle shop the team works on “anything with wheels,” he said, including custom and old school motorcycles, rat rods, hot rods, paint and body jobs – whatever is needed and it’s all done in-house. 

The business first opened its doors at the curve where Sunrise Boulevard and US-1 meet. While it was a beautiful space, it served better as a showroom. They heard complaints from customers that it was a difficult place to access.

A friend had a space in Pompano and Abel knew other people who did business there. For a month, the Viking Customs team gutted the interior of the new shop at 808 S. Dixie Hwy. Although the property is about 4,000 square feet smaller, it serves them better and has that industrial feel they wanted all along. It’s also much more affordable.

Big businesses are also looking to Pompano Beach. In April, the South Florida office of Marand Builders, based in North Carolina, moved from a rental property in Fort Lauderdale to an office they now own on Atlantic Boulevard just east of Cypress Road.

Francisco Alvarado, the president and CEO of the commercial general contractor, looked into cities as far north as Boca Raton to relocate, but Pompano Beach fit the bill. He has even bought a condo in the city. 

Alvarado calls Pompano a “gem in the rough” with far less congestion and huge potential for growth.

“Our lease ended, so we did not renew and we moved our offices completely to Pompano,” Alvarado said. “We are very happy with our investment.”

With COVID-19 impacting businesses, Bruno has been vigilant in keeping her work spaces clean and is only accepting one client at a time in her separate suite.

As an auto shop, Viking Customs was not impacted by the shutdown in Broward County. In fact, they’ve been busier than ever. 

“We’ve sold more bikes and had way more service than before,” Abel said. “I wish we had done it sooner.”

Originally published in The New Pelican.

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