As in-person events return, small businesses in Idaho see a rebound

After COVID-19 restrictions shut down much of the economy, small businesses like caterers and bridal shops are seeing renewed interest as in-person events return.

BOISE, Idaho – When the coronavirus pandemic began to spread around the world, face-to-face events and the businesses that depended on them were often the first victims when the economy came to a screeching halt. As summer 2021 dawns, some Treasure Valley businesses are discovering new opportunities and challenges as the economy begins to slowly recover.

“I’ve been in the bridal industry for 23 years and this is definitely one I’ll remember forever,” Jaylee Patterson, partner at Margene’s Bridal in Boise, told 208.

As her story goes, as with many others, events like weddings were postponed indefinitely a year ago, creating a difficult new reality for stores that depended on events, such as Patterson’s Bridal Shop. .

“Yes, it was very touching and let’s go. For example, a wedding is going on is not going on, but the brides have been resilient, ”Patterson said.

The past year has been a very tough one for small businesses, but Patterson said things are improving now.

“More than likely ever in the past year, brides are excited and they want to start planning and they see some kind of light at the end of the tunnel,” Patterson said.

A year ago, KTVB spoke with business owner Whitney Fredin, who described some of the challenges her business, Whitney Fredin Catering & Events, was facing. Now that’s a whole different story.

“Yeah, it’s been busy, very busy,” said Fredin. “We have just been criticized, as much busier than we obviously were last year, but even I would say busier than in previous years.

Fredin said it’s been great for her and her team to see so much business lately as more and more events unfold again.

“We’ve had a lot of events where people haven’t seen their families for over a year and they get together and they want a really special menu and it’s fun to come up with fun things that we don’t have. made in the past just to celebrate those memorable occasions with people, ”said Fredin.

From the specter of last year’s experiences, now leans toward normal, which is certainly a welcome sign of companies fueled by in-person events.

“It is certainly more normal for groups to come into the store and help their brides. In the beginning, we were doing a lot of facetime and zooming with our brides with people from all over the country. Now they get on the plane and help them celebrate the day they find their dress and it’s really fun and exciting, ”Patterson said.

Fredin agreed it was a big change of pace.

“It’s welcome, it’s been fun meeting people and feeling their energy. Everyone is enthusiastic about the events they organize. I think the vaccine makes it really happy for everyone to come together, ”said Fredin.

That said, business owners still face many new challenges. Fredin said a recent challenge has been to have enough staff to take advantage of any new opportunities. Fredin’s company and others have to turn down some opportunities due to staffing issues.

“It’s a challenge to own a business and feel that you have to limit the amount of work you can do when the demand is there because you don’t have the workforce that produces the. work and support it, ”said Fredin.

Still, business owners will likely say they are much better off than they were a year ago.

“Everyone says how much they missed it, they come to work and work more hours now and they really appreciate the time we have together, of course,” said Fredin.

Patterson said finally seeing her clients’ wedding photos really sets the tone for the future.

“The joy is so positive. I think after everything that’s happened last year, people want joy, they want happiness, and they want to celebrate with people they love. So it’s motivating and inspiring to keep coming to work and helping these women find amazing dresses, ”Patterson said.

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