Greensboro business leaders express economic optimism in 2021

The start of the new year may look a lot like 2020. But, community leaders…

The start of the new year may look a lot like 2020. But, community leaders and business owners are hopeful for positive changes.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — 2020 was a year full of plans falling through in a spectacular fashion, due to the pandemic. Big time, economy-boosting events were suddenly cancelled, as state leaders enacted safety measures and restrictions on businesses. 

“If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you have to be prepared for anything – but understand it’s hard to predict anything,” said Greensboro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brent Christensen.

Christensen says they’re looking forward to upcoming events this year – especially the ACC Tournament. It’s unclear whether fans will be permitted, but he says the event is still a win for the Greensboro community.

Excitement builds, too, for new business venture all across town. But, Christensen believes things will really get going when the vaccine is widely available – when people are more comfortable that the virus is at bay.

“When this virus is wrestled to its knees and we feel good about going out – there is so much pent up demand,” he said, “There are going to be a lot of businesses that are going to be able to take advantage of people being ready to go out to eat, and have a drink or two, and go to a play and go to a movie – do the things that quite frankly we haven’t been able to do for almost a year now.

“The business community really craves predictability, stability. And I’m not sure that we are quite there yet.”

For now, many will rely on a second round of PPP, and assistance from the Chamber to stay operational, waiting for things to level out.

RELATED: Seafood restaurant expands during pandemic, adds new eatery at historic downtown Greensboro location

“I’m absolutely optimistic for all businesses – not just ours,” said Jalen Knotts with Seafood Destiny. 

The Gate City Boulevard restaurant is expanding, now with a food truck, and between February and March, another location downtown. Grateful for their own success in the midst of a pandemic, they’re eager to see everyone benefit from a better economy.

“People are going to be looking for a new experience, so we can provide that to them,” Knotts said, “It’s going to be tremendous for all new businesses.”

“At least initially, 2021 may look an awful lot like 2020. But certainly I think that there are a lot of people who can see a light at the end of the tunnel, that’s for sure,” Christensen said.