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Local Businesses Adapt to a New Normal

With multiple unexpected closure announcements and fears about Covid-19, many businesses are struggling to survive. Adapting to the new normal requires businesses to think out of the box and make changes in order to stay afloat during these trying times.

California Dance Theatre

For 30 years California Dance Theatre in Westlake Village has educated thousands of community dancers and sent many of them on to full-blown performing careers of their own with ballet companies, on Broadway and in television and film.

It all started on Sept. 1, 1985, when three professional women (Joyce Hurley, Lori Sorensen and Kim Hurley Maselli) opened its doors. Each had illustrious dance careers of their own and Kim had just finished a four-year run on the hit TV series, “FAME” and previously danced in New York City with American Ballet Theatre ll. These women instilled a love of dance into the hearts of many who now are patrons of Pacific Festival Ballet and faithfully attend seasonal performances at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center.

In mid-March, bustling studios filled with dancers become empty. Music from rehearsal rooms for upcoming performances ceased. While the doors may be locked, the passion for dance is unbridled. Since reinventing a dance studio has been no easy task, Kim and husband, Michael Maselli (now the executive director) went into high gear finding ways to engage and encourage their student body and families by shifting the CDT dance curriculum to have an online presence. A YouTube channel was created as faculty rallied by donating filmed dance instruction from home that students could take for free. Teacher Talks were released weekly with encouraging antics and words of wisdom from teacher to student. Zoom faculty meetings and daily online dance classes replaced the hustle and bustle of studio life.

“What I realize,” says Office Manager Darby Ohlrich, “is the sense of community that has been built for so many years has a strong bond. It is not the building that unites us each day but our love for dance and each other.” As the preparations begin for California Dance Theatre’s 35th season, the celebration will look quite different.

“We have installed TV monitors in three of our five studios,” says Michael. “This gives students and their families the option to continue their dance training from home or in person.”


CURE Malibu

At CURE Malibu, a medical wellness center offering private concierge medicine, a spa and salon, and fitness, nutrition and mental health services, the staff is determined to provide top quality care to the community.

During COVID our health businesses have been needed more than ever,” says Dr. Lisa Benya. “We have expanded hours, staff and virtual care as well as home visits. As Covid necessitates people to remain home and out of danger, we have offered care directly to them, either by telemedicine or house calls, allowing clients to remain safe but still have all of their health care needs met.”

CURE offers a personalized approach to client care, going the extra mile to ensure their clients are cared for.

“With CURE we are able to be available directly to the clients 24/7 to answer any and all questions and concerns,” says Benya. “With Covid there is so much conflicting information given to the public. We provide quick and simple answers and guidance every day. This direct care between the client and practitioner is seamless and eases anxiety for many who need their health questions answered. Health and well-being are more important than ever and should not be delayed.”


FOY Life

“During this very stressful time in our history, our goal has been to heal in any way that works best for our community. With that in mind, FOY Life will continue to work toward meeting the healing needs of everyone who walks through our doors,” shares FOY Life’s Deanna Farnell. Located in Agoura Hills, the holistic healing center offers teas, nutritional guidance, herbal remedies and a full range of body, mind and spirit therapies.

“One way FOY Life has shifted is we have started a program called FOY Wellness and Recovery where we offer services for mental health and addiction. This is the first of its kind, as we are using alternative, holistic healing to support our program. Our unique program combines Eastern meets Western healing which allows a two-prong, multi-faceted approach to recovery. We are using our nutrition and teas to assist with the healing process,” explains Farnell. “We have run a pilot program for the past eight weeks and the results have been beyond our wildest expectations. We couldn't be more thrilled with the services we are providing, and the people that are experiencing FOY are thriving in our environment. It has been such a fulfilling way to give back.”

FOY Life plans to continue offering individual treatments.

“FOY is a special place where everyone that finds us has a common theme of how they interpret the space—peaceful, tranquil with amazing smells, and a feeling of security and warmth. Everyone is made to feel special,” Farnell says. 

“We are truly working to revolutionize all aspects of non-traditional healing,” says Farnell. “We will continue to refine our program and offerings to keep current with the needs of our customers.”


Son of a Barista

Locally owned Son of a Barista shifted their sales from hotels to consumers during the pandemic. The company provides an at-home alternative for people wanting to enjoy Italian espresso.

No longer is it necessary to head to the local coffee shop during these strange times. Son of a Barista now offers their coffee espresso maker with two boxes of starter kits (120 pods) equal to about two months of coffee for $98.

Turn your espresso into an iced coffee, iced or hot latte or mocha, cappuccino, cortado, flat white or even dessert—the affogato with a shot of espresso poured over creamy gelato.

The coffee pods are not only brewed and roasted in Italy, but they are designed to hold more espresso (7.5 grams versus the standard 5 grams), allowing for a richer, more flavorful brew. And while the pods are recyclable, Son of a Barista is currently researching bioplastics for their next generation of pods so that the entire pod will biodegrade on its own regardless of where it ends up.

Customers can choose from various strengths of caffeine and caffeine-free pods.