'We can see the light': Local small businesses rebound after COVID-19 pandemic

"Those of us who have made it thus far, the worst is behind us. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel."

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola via WPVI logo
Friday, July 22, 2022
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A new report by Bank of America shows that 70% of small business owners have adopted new technology since the pandemic.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The COVID-19 pandemic was hard on everyone, but perhaps no one more so than small business owners.

On top of COVID, owners are now dealing with a whole new set of challenges: supply chain issues, inflation, and the worker shortage.

"Those of us who have made it thus far, the worst is behind us. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel," said Joe Tucker, the founder and CEO of the Tucker Law Group in Center City Philadelphia.

Tucker Law Group is a small business with fewer than 20 employees. Tucker said when the pandemic hit, his firm was able to respond quickly in large part because it was already tech ready.

"We had computer systems that allowed our people to work from home so we've just expanded that now," he said.

A new report by Bank of America shows that 70% of small business owners have adopted new technology since the pandemic. And Tucker said it shines a light on the superpower of a small business its ability to be nimble and change its day-to-day workflow on a dime.

"Because we are a small business I believe we are better in tune with everyone's needs," he said.

Bank of America's annual Small Business Owner Report also shows there has been steady recovery from the height of the pandemic, but other factors are now weighing down bottom lines, like inflation, which is causing a demand for higher salaries.

"Sixty-two percent of them said we finally recovered from the pandemic and now they've got all of this going on," said Carol Lee Mitchell, Senior Vice President, Bank of America Small Business.

But overall confidence in the economy is down interestingly.

"When you ask the business owner do you expect revenues to increase for your business absolutely 64% of them say yeah no I'm actually optimistic that my revenue is going to increase and oh by the way 48-percent of my revenue has already increased," she said.

But one continuing challenge is keeping employees and attracting new talent.

"Twenty percent of our business owners are going to increase their wages for their employees just to retain them," Mitchell said.

Tucker offers employees a flexible work schedule and a sense of family.

"We serve lunches to everyone on Wednesdays when we're all here together," he said.

Emphasizing what distinguishes a small business from a large corporation and making sure resilience and rebound are his firm's headlines.

"Those small businesses I believe, who have made it through the pandemic, who continue to make it through the pandemic, are leaner, tougher, smarter, and will continue to be profitable," he said.