Small business start-up boom grows stronger as a result of pandemic

Local entrepreneurs said work is no longer about paying the bills
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Thousands of small businesses went under during the pandemic, while others were just getting started.

When the pandemic shut down businesses across the nation, Alex Edwards decided it was the perfect time to start a new one. He quit his job as a firefighter and opened the Candy Cloud Company in May 2020.

“I just realized that’s not where my heart lied, my heart lies in entrepreneurship,” Edwards said.

It’s certainly not a risk you’d expect to take, especially in the middle of an economic downturn.

“I had to trust God,” said Edwards. “I went to church and the Pastor told me to just keep on pushing on, and don’t give up on your dreams no matter the outside sources.”

Edwards said putting faith into God paid off. The sweet treat food truck often pops up throughout Rockford, and it’s booming with success.

“We did very well last year, but things really have taken off crazy until this year. It’s really when we started doing the drinks,” Edwards said. “And the way we present those drinks in the can. You can drink it for later.”

Edwards isn’t the only person who left his job in search of happiness. According to the Labor Department, 4 million people quit their jobs in April.

“Being a massage therapist, it was a way to feed my family,” said The Midwest Rustic owner, Brianna Zahn. “But in the end it isn’t what I wanted to do. It wasn’t my passion.”

Zahn also opened a small business during the pandemic, called The Midwest Rustic in Rockford. She says coronavirus was a catalyst in realizing work is no longer about paying the bills.

“It opened doors for people like me. It just kind of brought everyone to life, realizing what they actually wanted to do.”

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