As several businesses close their doors for good during the COVID-19 crisis, a new surge of entrepreneurs are starting up new establishments.
“This is Hidden Gems. This is our Wizard of Oz-themed ice cream shop," said business owner Josh Schmitz.
Schmitz is balancing opening three new businesses: an ice cream shop, a bakery and a bar
“Maybe this is a bit harsh,” he said, “but if you call yourself an entrepreneur and you didn’t grow during 2020, you can’t call yourself that anymore.”
Schmitz says the low cost of entry during the pandemic was too good to pass up. That and his desire to help others find jobs encouraged him to file new business applications.
“We weren’t designed to do like solo,” he said. “So, for us to be able to build during this time and create some buzz and energy while still being COVID safe was a no-brainer for us.”
Schmitz is one of many people across the country opening up a new business during the pandemic.
Experts like business consultant Angelique Rewers with The Corporate Agent say this increase is based on three trends: necessity, awareness and opportunity.
“A lot of folks have had to start businesses. Either they’ve lost their job, their traditional job no longer was a fit or their other business went under,” she said.
The United States Census Bureau reports nearly 4.5 million new business applications were filed in 2020, which is about a 24% increase from 2019.
Rewers predicts those numbers will continue climbing nationally.
“I think the next couple of years is going to be fueled by a boom,” she said. “But, I also think we’re going to see is a real change in buying behavior.”
For Schmitz, leasing three properties at once has created dozens of jobs for his community as he becomes part of the next generation of business owners looking to keep their doors open post-pandemic.
“We want to keep growing and keep building and keep doing cool stuff and creating opportunities for our people,” he said.