Pandemic Recovery Brings Customers, New Challenges For Small Businesses

Monday, May 17th 2021, 9:52 pm
By: Grant Stephens

TULSA, Oklahoma -

For a lot of small business owners, business is booming as pandemic restrictions loosen. Customers have been coming in droves, but several recently-opened businesses said there are two big issues holding them back.

The Brook's new location in downtown Tulsa has come out of the gate running. They've only been open for three weeks, but the restaurant's Brookside location is also seeing some of its best business in years.

"Consistently busy, the weekends have been completely insane," Jaime Earl at the Brook said.

In southeast Tulsa, Keli Miller recently opened her Next Door Escape Room business and is riding a similar wave of customers.

"People continue to come in and our weekends get fuller and fuller," Miller said.

Earl said that return has been bittersweet for the restaurant industry.

"Everything is going up, so that kind of makes your food costs a lot higher, and then we have a lack of staff also so there's a lot of tricky things we're trying to overcome," Earl said.

Earl addressed two big issues businesses across the country face from bars to auto shops: the demand from customers is high, but the supply of food to cook or products to sell is low. Earl is also needing workers, operating with only half the needed staff.

A Bank of America study of 1,000 businesses found nationwide that nearly eight in ten say more vaccines will help bring business back to normal while another big percent worries about staffing.

A.J. Johnson is staying positive and striking while the iron's hot, opening the New Oasis Fresh Market Monday.

"This is the hour for the entrepreneur, this is the hour for business owners and we believe that this is going to be one of the greatest years that businesses have experienced," Johnson said.

All business owners News On 6 spoke to believe any new issues they're running into will be temporary.