The Pandemic Forced Thousands of Businesses to Close—But New Ones Are Launching at Breakneck Speed

Stephen Natoli needed to act fast when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. He was desperate to keep his business, Natoli’s Italian Deli in Secaucus, N.J., open, and retain his workers. But with all his customers suddenly homebound, event catering—which accounted for half his revenue—completely seized up. Individual orders like pizza slices and sandwiches also took a hit. There were no obvious options to bolster the company’s prepared food sales.

So Natoli took a leap, and dramatically pivoted the business. He moved all the seating outside and turned the indoor space into a small grocery market, stocking kitchen staples and fresh produce. The demand was so great that he opened a grocery store in another area of town, which he later sold. Now, his food services are bouncing back, but he has no intention of returning to the way things were: the groceries are there to stay.
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“We picked up about 20-to-25% of the business we lost in catering,” Natoli says. “I decided to keep that 20-to-25% and when catering comes back, I want to bang that on top.”

Last year, lockdowns and other COVID-19 containment measures hit businesses so fast that many couldn’t withstand the shock. Now, as the economy rebounds, the extent of the damage is becoming more clear. But despite the glut of business closures, there are a few comforting signs. For one thing, the pandemic has spurred business creation, both in terms of entrepreneurial startups and also new products and services at existing firms. What’s more, firms that outlive the pandemic may end up more resilient and prosperous in the future because they will better cater to home-based lifestyles, new digital habits and other societal shifts that took place over the past year.

“The best thing we can do for the economy to recover is to allow what’s going to …read more

Source:: Time – Business


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