JAMESTOWN — The post-pandemic world may present new opportunities for those living in Jamestown, or at least that’s the hope of the city’s mayor.
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist, in an interview with WNY News Now, discusses how local businesses adapted to the global pandemic, and now in many cases show signs of growth.
For example, Mayor Sundquist says the food service industry, which faced severe hardship due to restrictions last year, will likely keep services like curbside pickup and delivery. They also, Sundquist explains, will put a great focus on elements like outdoor dining.
“It is great to see, and we hear from a lot of the restaurants that are reopening at full capacity. It’s great to be here on a weekend and see the number of people that are downtown, enjoying all the things we have,” explained Sundquist. “To see visitors from different states come and enjoy the National Comedy Center, the Robert H. Jackson Center and all of the different museums and take part in some of the businesses that we have here is really great.”
The mayor explains that many businesses that shifted production during the shutdown are continuing with the new found model to this day.
“What gets me the most is I go and talk to manufacturing companies that have found unique new opportunities during this pandemic to not only shift gears, to change their business model, but are thriving after this pandemic,” explains Sundquist.
Specifically, he says Jamestown’s long standing role in the furniture industry has been revitalized by pandemic-related changes.
“When you would often see those things go overseas, you’re now seeing them made domestically, and that’s a great thing,” furthers Sundquist. “We’ve seen other manufacturers turn on a dime to make PPE and other opportunities, and that’s not going away.”
Many businesses also switched to an online-model during the shutdown, which has increased their sales.
“We’ve seen businesses that you could only go to a remote corner of the county to get something, now selling to the world online,” says Sundquist. “They’re killing it. They’re doing a great job here in the city because they have a low cost of operations, but they can now market and sell to the entire United States.”
That’s exactly what the owner of Full Moon Rising Bakery, Andrea Latona, took advantage of.
“During the pandemic I opened the Etsy page, and it took off,” said Latona. “I ship all over to huge companies, Apple, Pinterest.”
Latona says those tech giants were a great boost to her business, the only thing she wished she did differently was start selling online sooner.
“It really made sense, but I really should have done it much sooner,” furthered Latone.
Her success story, the Mayor hopes, will encourage entrepreneurs to the area as well.
“One of the opportunities we have in the city is to attract those individuals here to the city to live, to work, to play, to do whatever you want. And I think this is such a low-cost opportunity, that you can do that,” explains Sundquist. “ But more importantly, we recognize the need for incubator space, for coworking spaces, because the new norm is gonna be partially at your house and partially at a physical space. There are times you need to get away in order to get work done. And as a city we’ve been looking at different opportunities, trying to work with local partners to create these spaces.”
Last week, Sundquist’s office launched an initiative to court future Marijuana grow operations.
Those who might be interested in Jamestown are encouraged to contact the Department of Development for help getting started. Learn more online at JamestownNY.gov.