The past year has stretched many households to their broadband limit with kids learning virtually and parents working remotely at the same time, but for rural small business owner Shayai Lucero, this isn’t a new challenge.
Small Business Majority's blog
This National Small Business Week has been an important time to reflect on the challenges small businesses have endured over the past year. In order to highlight the current state of small business, we spoke with six entrepreneurs from across the country about their experiences running businesses throughout the pandemic. You can read all about their perseverance below.
Why shop small? Because $0.67 of every dollar you spend at a small business gets invested back into the community. For Jeff Rogoff, owner of Sazza in Greenwood Village, Colo., this philosophy holds true. At Sazza, not only are the pizza toppings and cheeses locally sourced but so is the silverware, tables, glassware and branded merchandise.
“Being mindful of our community, working with our community and being a part of our community is all very important to us,” Jeff says.
Entrepreneurship has been a way for many Americans to avoid unemployment throughout the pandemic. So, when Michelle Youngblood’s corporate office shut down with a round of layoffs, she realized this was the push she needed to launch her own brand, Brooklynn & Blake.
Johana Hernandez has been surrounded by fashion her whole life. Growing up, her parents worked in sewing factories in Los Angeles, which enabled Johana to learn all about garment design and the production of high-end clothing firsthand. In the beginning, making her own clothes was simply a hobby that Johana and her mother enjoyed doing together in their spare time, but soon it became a passion and her path to entrepreneurship.
After a trip to visit a friend’s son at a local pediatric ward left Kevin Gatlin disheartened, he became determined to make lengthy hospital stays more comfortable for kids and parents alike. He thought about how his kids utilize the limited space in their own bedrooms by playing games, doing homework and reading on their beds. From this point, Kevin let his imagination run wild and created Playtime Bed Sheets, interactive sheets to help keep kids entertained from the comfort of a bed.
Keeping kids engaged, curious and confident throughout virtual learning and lockdowns is a task many parents and schools have struggled with over the past 10 months. Fortunately, Virginia small business owner Ellen Victoria Luckey is well equipped to help her community tackle the issue.
Ten years ago, Sway Soturi woke up to find that her face had swollen “to the size of a watermelon.” After speaking with doctors and friends, she decided to cut out inflammatory ingredients like gluten and dairy from her diet.
After 15 years working in the restaurant industry and battling an eating disorder, Sway had to re-define nutrition and her relationship with food. Over the next few years, she shifted to a wellness mindset becoming a personal trainer and cooking with more natural and local ingredients.
The gut reaction to quickly pivot their business was a survival method that saved many small business owners from closing their doors this year. Now, nine months after initial stay at home orders were set in place in response to the spread of COVID-19, many entrepreneurs across the country are looking for their second pivot of the year in order to survive.
Over the summer, as small business owners began to share how they were pivoting their businesses to meet the needs of their communities and stay open during the pandemic, we were inspired to launch our Stories of Resiliency campaign on Instagram.
Over the past six months, we have shared dozens of stories from small business owners in our network who have expertly adapted their businesses and overcome massive unexpected setbacks. Here are some of their stories.