Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau reported its new business application figures for third quarter. The states categorized ‘the South’ represent about one-third of the U.S. population, yet last quarter, they supplied half the country’s total of new business applications. The South is growing in population and growing in industry.
The Lake Martin region is a microcosm of this growth. It models all the economic trends of 2020: urban exodus, regional tourism and, as international supply chains melt down and communities look out for one another, a return to local business.
City dwellers and suburbanites no longer chained to their commutes are now buying up property in the country. The lunches they once purchased at the office cafeteria are now being eaten at the local mom-and-pop restaurant, and when their cars break down, they go to the local mechanic.
Economic activity also comes from within. Necessity is the mother of invention, and if the departure of Russell Corp. one decade ago weren’t enough, the coronavirus pandemic has cost Alexander City many jobs. For those lucky enough to have the resources to start their own business, however, suddenly, they have nothing to lose.
The pandemic itself has created new necessities that’s forced businesses to strengthen and innovate, whether that’s by improving their digital presence or devising a new delivery system that helps vulnerable customers fulfill their needs.
Couple that with the lowered barriers of starting a business via the internet — and perhaps a bit more time to carve out with all the old social events now off-limits — and we’re seeing a burst of entrepreneurial activity.
Let this be a lesson that a prosperous economy is a dynamic one, where new industries are created based on the solutions we need and the strengths we already have, not the conventions of the past. Right now, the pandemic-driven trends happen to be working in our favor. Let’s strive to be ahead of the trends.