Small businesses booming in North Dakota despite COVID challenges

Small business boom in North Dakota

FOX Business’ Connell McShane highlights small business owners who are ‘thriving’ in North Dakota amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Some small businesses that opened during or shortly before the onset of the pandemic are booming in North Dakota despite the challenges associated with COVID-19.

More than 98% of businesses in North Dakota are considered small, which means they employ less than 500 people, an employee at the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Bismarck-area office confirmed to FOX Business on Tuesday, adding that currently there are about 1,200 more small businesses in the state compared to before the pandemic. 

FOX Business’ Connell McShane spoke with two small business owners in North Dakota who have remained resilient and saw their businesses boom during the pandemic.  

He reported that the fact that North Dakota never fully shut down due to COVID-19 is a contributing factor.

The unemployment rate in North Dakota peaked in April 2020 at 8.7%, when the national unemployment rate was 14.7%, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The unemployment rate in North Dakota for August 2021, the latest data available, is 3.6% compared to the national unemployment rate of 5.2%, according to the Labor Department.

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Jan Joersz, the owner of Pawz Enrichment Center in Bismarck, a dog daycare business that doubles as a training site for puppies, said she was willing to take a risk and started her business during the pandemic because she noticed many families were getting dogs. 

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"I knew that people were getting puppies and all the rescues they were talking about… Everybody was getting these rescue dogs so I just knew that there was a need for it," Joersz said in an interview that aired on "Mornings with Maria" on Tuesday.

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McShane reported that Joersz took advantage of the Small Business Administration loan program. 

He also spoke with Sandy Jacobson, who opened Brick Oven Bakery in Bismarck in late 2019. She thought her business would suffer during the pandemic, however, thanks to her drive-through window and the incredible support from the community, she said she was able to thrive. 

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"We are just that kind of a community where we want to support small and we had people coming through during the pandemic that maybe didn’t want our pastries, but they would buy $100 gift card just because," Jacobson said. "So, I mean, I think that’s the biggest thing, is just our community, just really pulls together in times like this." 

The North Dakota SBA employee told FOX Business on Tuesday that the tax environment is "business-friendly" in the state and could be a contributing factor as to why many small businesses exist in the area. 

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