Few things in life require more confidence and optimism than starting your own business. It can be a challenging undertaking, but the sense of accomplishment can also be quite satisfying and rewarding. And it’s especially appealing to adrenaline junkies and those keen on risking their lives.

That high risk really came into focus this month as the Coronavirus lockdown laid small businesses to waste. If you read my last article, in which I explained how I ended up back at Bambu Batu in 2019 after selling the business in 2016, then you’ll know that we were already planning to close down the shop.

But now I’m trying to run a liquidation sale under a state of total quarantine. Governor Newsom issued a stay-at-home order for all of California on March 19, about 2 days after we announced our going-out-of business sale. Without a doubt, this edict has added a serious degree of difficulty to an already painful process.

Liquidation in Quarantine at Bambu Batu

As in many periods of crisis, we have good news and bad news. And everyone seems to prefer the bad news first. So Coronavirus is coming to California and thousands in our state could die as a result. But the good news is that our aggressive stay-at-home policy seems to be flattening the curve pretty effectively.

Here at Bambu Batu, the quarantine also brings good news and bad news. With everyone staying at home, as well they should, it’s going to take a considerably longer time for us to liquidate our inventory of bamboo, natural fibers and fair trade products. Bad news for me is that it’s going to take a lot longer to vacate the premises and get back to my wife and children in the Spanish Pyrenees.

Closing down the shop — which I put my heart, my soul and more than a decade of my life into — was not an easy decision by any means. I came all the way back from Spain to rescue it from the hands of aimless ineptitude, and resisted the thought of closure for many months. Now, with the world in quarantine, I’m denied the dignity of even tearing off the bandaid swiftly and mercifully. Instead, the agony will be prolonged, tugging on each little hair, slowly and torturously, over the course of many weeks and months.

But I did promise you some good news, so thank you for waiting. The good news is that loyal, longtime customers like yourself will have an extended period of time to take advantage of our clearance sale prices. Rather than having your favorite, one-of-a-kind, downtown gift shop disappearing overnight, we’ll probably be sticking around for another few months.

How to shop and support Bambu Batu during quarantine

As I sit here, alone in the darkness of the shop, lounging in my pajamas and digging through the endless musical archives of the internet, I’m still scrambling to do anything I can to generate a little revenue. Seems like the landlords and bill collectors are using the quarantine period to work overtime at shaking down smalltime merchants like myself.

So yes, we would love to do business with you during these difficult times, and here’s how.

  • You can look on the website, but only a portion of our products are show there. And they do not reflect the sale prices. So better to call or text and place you order by phone. I can walk you through it, and send as many photos as you need. 805-298-2273
  • Pick up your order at the curb or get it delivered if you’re in SLO, Avila, Los Osos or Morro Bay.
  • Get it shipped by mail if you’re not in the immediate area.
  • You can also come into the store by appointment. Call ahead to make sure I’m here, but I usually am, because it’s safe here and energetically protected. We do not allow more than customer (or intimate couple) in the store at one time. There is only one clerk in the store (me), and I sanitize myself, the door knobs, and credit card machines regularly. (There’s typically only 1 or 2 people coming in the shop per day, besides me and the mailman, so it’s hardly a hotbed of germ exchange.)

As of the first week of April, we still have a pretty great selection of everything. Some sock sizes are getting low, and some towel colors are selling out. Otherwise, we still have tons of bamboo t-shirts, underwear and clothing for men, women and babies. And there’s a great selection of sacred statues and meditation tools, as well as bamboo kitchenwares and bamboo furniture.

Right now, towels, sheets and clothing are 20% off; statues and gifts are 25% off; and furniture is half price. Prices will continue to drop as the selection diminishes, but that’s happening pretty slowly under the current circumstances.

As always, we look forward to hearing from you.