By Pamela Erickson
On December 5-6, the Las Vegas Review-Journal published an exciting and surprising editorial. It cited the U.S. Census Bureau’s report that in July-September of 2020, the number of business license applications was double the quarterly average of the past 10 years!!! In fact, Nevada showed an increase of 83%. This is a state that has suffered some of the worst economic impacts of the pandemic.
So… what is going on? The Review-Journal cites this explanation from reason.com:
“The pandemic has shifted how Americans work, eat, play and socialize and it has upended consumers’ demand for products. That disruption has created opportunities for new businesses, and entrepreneurial types have responded in droves.” – Eric Boehm, reason.com
The pandemic has been so very hard on businesses and their employees. We have all watched as bars and restaurants have faced mandatory closures and capacity limits that make profits impossible. Valuable employees have been laid off. We have watched businesses labor tirelessly to meet regulations by cleaning, installing barriers and rearranging tables to ensure physical distancing. It is incredibly tragic when all this effort is met with an abrupt closure or change in regulations that inhibit profitability.
In my seven years as an alcohol regulator, I became a big fan of small businesses. I have admired the hard work, innovative spirit and energy of these people. I’ve heard the stories of immigrants (like my grandfather) who came with nothing and excelled through grit and determination.
But it is heartening to know that the entrepreneurial spirit is still alive! It is impressive how licensees have responded to regulations. Bars and restaurants have formed new partnerships with other local businesses. A new restaurant in my town now sells a special beer made by the brewer next door. Bars have teamed up with food trucks. Business owners have constructed outdoor dining spaces. These changes have been made very quickly as the need for revenue has become acute. Such actions need to be recognized and celebrated.
Sadly, many of our businesses have closed and more will likely follow. But there is a light on the horizon. I see a very bright future for our businesses, one that will be better because of what we have learned from the pandemic.
One of the lessons I try to teach my grandsons is not to fear hard times. Even though no one wishes for such times, they are likely to be your greatest learning experiences.
So, to all those business owners who have suffered with this pandemic, have a warm holiday season and remember that your skills, talent and energy can carry you to greater things in the coming year.
Happy Holidays to All!!!