Small business owners reflect on opening in a pandemic

Local News

TOPEKA (KSNT) – New businesses are cautiously optimistic as they open up during these uncertain times.

43Ten Pizza is one of those businesses. Opening in April the venue, located at 4310 SW 21st Street, features a bar and pizza buffet. 

While excited to finally open their doors, the business was cautiously optimistic about its chances of success. 

“We didn’t know how it was going to be received,” said co-owner Tasha Poort. “We didn’t know if people would come out, what was going to be expected out of us, what we would expect out of other people.” 

What hurdles do new businesses like 43Ten have to overcome to not only open, but survive in a pandemic? In a word, uncertainty.    

“It’s hard to have a stable business when you have no idea what’s coming or what rules are going to be put in or when it will end.”

While the pandemic limited business in traditional ways, it also gave rise to new opportunities. Five minutes north of 43Ten on Huntoon Street, SHopper’s Kitchen opened two weeks later as a drive-thru and dessert catering company. 

“Because of restaurants not being open so readily, people were looking for the ability to still have a nice meal without the ability to sit down somewhere,” said SHopper’s owner Sylvia Hopper. “So for me, it was an increase in a sense.” 

While both establishments are optimistic about the future, they know the odds of succeeding aren’t exactly in their favor.  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows about 20% of small businesses fail in their first year. And after five years, that number moves up to 50%.  

While the pandemic is still around, Hopper has one final message for Kansans.

“Support all small businesses that you can. Take care of those restaurants that have been struggling for the past year.”

With the Department of Labor announcing 850,000 jobs have been added in June, the economy is continually reaching a better spot, much to the relief of independent businesses across the nation.

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December 31 2021 11:59 pm