Josefina Vasquez sells a bouquet to a passing customer. Photo by Juan Carlos Lara

From the corner of Bryant and 24th streets, where Josefina Vasquez sells flowers, “everything has changed” with the pandemic, she says in Spanish. 

Restaurants and nail salons have closed, and those businesses that remain open no longer let her use their bathrooms. 

Her business has also dropped by more than half, but her home is nearby and she still shows up for work, exchanging greetings with the people she recognizes.

When a man parks his truck at a parking meter in front of Vasquez, she tells him the meter is broken. 

“Can you watch for parking enforcement?” he asks.

Yes, she says and he walks briskly down the street. 

Vasquez has been living nearby for just over 20 years.

The spot is a good one, she says even though nowadays she often has to throw away flowers at the end of the day. 

The man who parked earlier returns to his truck. “La Palma is closed,” he said in Spanish. 

“Today’s Tuesday,” Vasquez said, “they’re closed on Tuesdays now.” 

The red roses are Vasquez’s favorite flowers.

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Juan Carlos Lara covers business and development in the Mission. Juan Carlos, a San Francisco State alum, is as much a photographer as he is a writer and previously worked as the campus news editor at Golden Gate Xpress, SF State’s student paper.

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  1. Josefina works hard for her family. I was lucky to have taught two of her sons. They grew up to be fine young men. One helps with the business the other graduated from college. Support this great family by treating yourself to some beautiful flowers or plants. 💐

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