Share the love and shop local this Valentine's Day

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif — It’s been a heart-wrenching year for our region’s small businesses. Despite the challenges, they’re ready to spread the love this Valentine’s Day and make sure you have the perfect gift for that special someone.

Walk into NatSweets in Santee and the smell of handmade baked sugar cookies fills the air.

“They're soft, they're beautiful, and they're baked fresh, daily,” said Natasha Wren, NatSweets owner.

From the unique wall of locally written greeting cards to custom desserts, some iced with naughty messages, on Friday you can make the local bakery your one-stop-shop for Valentine’s Day on Sunday, February 14th.

“You can grab cards, candies, chocolates, cookies, cheesecake, or you can kind of assemble your own gift box and you won't have to be running around town,” said Wren.

She opened the brick and mortar store off Magnolia near the Omelette Factory in 2019 and customers can’t get enough.

“I keep coming back because it's super yummy and amazing and it's awesome to support local,” said Morgan.

If you’re in the mood for something a little healthier but satisfies your sweet tooth, Maya’s Cookies will melt your gourmet vegan heart.

“People that I never thought would try being cookies. They're just happy to have a dessert shop,” said Maya Madsen, owner of Maya’s Cookies.

Maya, a female-black owned business owner, started selling her vegan cookies in 2015 at local farmer’s market to help get her boys through college. She struggled early in the pandemic but after the Black Lives Matter movement, she went he went from 20 online orders to 3,000 overnight. She turned the lobby of the Grantville bakery into a storefront.

“I really do pour all my heart and soul into these cookies,” said Madsen.

This weekend you can make your cookie up an Instagram moment with a free Valentine’s photobooth.

“Share the love cookies, make people happy and who doesn't love a cute photo on Valentine's Day?” said Madsen.

RELATED: Out & About: Maya's Cookies

Don’t forget to smell the roses at The Singing Florist in Chula Vista’s Third Avenue Village.

“It's not just about love. It's about friendship,” said Mayra Spillane.

The florists is a seasoned wedding florist but lost a lot of business this past year because of the pandemic. She was able to receive small business grants from the city and federal government which has helped her arrange for new and loyal customers.

“I'm very grateful, especially to the community, because they haven't left me,” said Spillane.

That local support is helping small businesses share the love.

“We just want to be able to help each other and stay open,” said Wren.

NatSweets is located at 8840 N. Magnolia Ave. Ste. 150, Santee, Ca 92071. They are opened Monday through Saturday.

Maya’s Cookies is located 4760 Mission Gorge Pl. San Diego, Ca. 92120. They are opened Wednesday through Saturday.

The Singing Florist 231 3rd Avenue, Ste. D, Chula Vista, Ca. 91910. It is opened Tuesday through Saturday.

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