CORAL SPRINGS, FL – Coral Springs saw a jump in new businesses opening in 2020, despite the Covid-19 pandemic hammering small companies across the nation.
The city recorded 545 new businesses in the past 12 months -- from 4,161 businesses licensed in Coral Springs in January 2020 to 4,706 in January 2021, according to the city.
It’s not clear what industries the new businesses are in.
City business leaders attribute the increase to the expansion of home-based businesses as well as more people relocating to Coral Springs from northern states.
“We have great schools, parks, and recreation in our city,” said Cindy Brief, president and CEO of Coral Springs Coconut Creek Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Another reason new businesses are opening locally and nationwide: the growth of e-commerce and online retail services, which are replacing old brick-and-mortar businesses devastated by the face-to-face economy.
Still, despite the upbeat trend, the local economy continues to hurt from the financial impact of coronavirus.
The Coral Springs unemployment rate was at 5.6 percent in December, still way up from the pre-pandemic level of 2.9 percent in January, 2020.
Many small businesses across the nation anticipate the worst of the pandemic is still ahead, according to a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce index.
And based on data from last summer, roughly one in five small businesses have closed, according to the firm Womply. Those included bars, restaurants, beauty shops, and other retailers hit the hardest because many customers are trying to keep distance from one another.
But there are bright spots in the economy with more entrepreneurs looking to carve out niches in the new Covid-19 world, experts said.
“I know that a good amount of ‘at-home’ businesses were started during this time which I attribute to the resiliency of many in the community who may have been furloughed or laid off and pivoted in a new direction,” said Andrea Jacobs, chair of the chamber and a managing partner at Brodzki Jacobs In Coral Springs.
Brief added the city of Coral Springs and the chamber worked together to help existing businesses get through the challenges of the pandemic.
That included webinars and other assistance on applying for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), receiving personal protective equipment, and opening safely after the virus shutdown, Brief said.
Also, an economic recovery task force formed to communicate the needs of the business community to city officials, she said.
Brief added that the chamber, in particular, helped make connections, and eventual deals, between members during a time when “people have felt very isolated and alone.”
As for the year to come, some city business assistance programs have expired, and without further federal aid, economists warn the recovery will slow down and many small businesses will have more hard times ahead.
Brief is confident, though, new businesses will continue opening in Coral Springs due to the local focus on creating a business-friendly environment.
“We have incredible leadership in the city of Coral Springs and the chamber,” Brief said.
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