Omaha’s support for local businesses has kept the local economy strong, trade leaders say
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Despite the pandemic that got many businesses in trouble over the past year, Omaha’s economy remains strong, according to the Chamber of Commerce.
“The fact that we have risen with confidence throughout our success, and of course now that we are out, is a tremendous leading indicator of what we are seeing in numbers as an economy,” said Todd Johnson, SVP of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.
According to Johnson, the local economy is as strong now as it was before the pandemic. Although the official number of companies that opened or closed in the last year is still in the works, the Chamber expects Omaha to continue to be a prime location for startups.
In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that Nebraska has an average of 46.4 startups per 1,000 companies, which puts us 17th overall. Johnson says the trend is expected to continue into 2020, 2021, and beyond.
“There is no touchdown dance or a global pandemic victory and many great companies have closed and will not return, but many have not. And I think the way our anchor companies relied on our startups and newer companies, we had tremendous campaigns to buy local products – retail, restaurant, whatever it was – we really took care of each other ” says Johnson.
Fatiah, co-owner of the Naughty Buddha Burger Bar, says Omahans played an important role in their success when they opened during the pandemic.
“To our surprise, the community gave us amazing support,” she says.
Despite the summer increase in some cases, the hotspot of the vegan burger bar was in full swing.
“We just thought, despite all the negativity and concerns, we could just have some fun and give people a fun, healthy option to eat.”
Andrew Prystai, the CEO and co-founder of Event Vesta, opened just before the pandemic that had ended everyday life.
“We realized that everything in our business has to change if we don’t have our name,” he says.
Prystai’s start-up, which helps people and businesses find and promote local events, had to change dramatically. Prystai says as part of the entertainment industry and as a company helping other businesses, he’s watched the locals move on to the changes too.
“We used that [new] digital nature and actually expanded our network across the state of Nebraska as well as a number of communities across the country that, frankly, without COVID, we would have expanded much more slowly. “
However, a large part of the continued success and survival of companies that contribute to the Omaha economy has been caused by you – local buyers.
“I think we know intuitively and we’re going to find out quantitatively, it made a difference,” says Johnson. “There is a loyalty, work ethic, and business ethic to the Omaha culture that underpins what made us do it.”
Johnson and the Chamber say continuing to support local businesses will help maintain our economic strength and continue to bring more growth, events and positive additions to our city.
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