I don’t think anyone on this earth is sorry to see 2020 in the rearview mirror. Never before has a catastrophe impacted the human race on such a global scale as COVID-19, making each individual story unique and deeply personal but also composing the fabric of a universal experience felt by all around the world.
In Columbia, small businesses have borne the brunt of the economic devastation, with some businesses forced to close forever. But as the old phrase says, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” and that has certainly been true in our community. Great challenges like a 1,000-year flood or a 100-year pandemic best show the resilience and inner resolve we know Columbia always has beneath the surface.
This past year, local businesses have dug deep to think creatively not only on how to stay afloat financially, but also how to continue serving the community and filling their important niche. In this issue, we announce your selection of winners for our 2021 Best of Columbia contest, listed on page 76, and asked this amazing group of businesses to share some of their experiences from 2020. Despite the crippling economic crisis, many have managed to use a bad situation for the ultimate good of their companies, letting it be the catalyst for new ideas, experiments, and growth.
Mollie Hobbs shares that at Copper Penny, “we all were able to reimagine and redefine our interests and passions. It allowed for the community to come closer together in an ever-expanding world. This year was a shift in perspective and happiness, and that is felt through every activity and event in the community.”
Ima Thibodeaux at Gibson’s points out that “our lives became simpler, from one moment to the other. We have become wiser, more careful, more aware of our neighbors. As Roy Bennett said, ‘Storms make people stronger, and they don’t last forever.’”
The loyalty our local businesses feel towards this community is evidenced in the many ways they have bent over backwards to continue serving clients, from implementing air purification systems and vigorous cleaning schedules to local shipping and curbside pickup … whatever it takes to fulfill their customers’ needs, safely. The Carlisles at The Original Pancake House share that “we made sure our staff could stay safe while serving our customers by following CDC guidelines for temperature taking, wearing of masks and gloves, and using lots of disinfectant.”
This past December, we launched the #CMMShopLocalChallenge as a way to encourage Columbia to show this same loyalty back towards the small businesses that make up the backbone of our city. We were overwhelmed at your response and are so grateful to everyone who participated in shopping locally over the holidays. And as you turn the pages of this first issue of 2021, know that it is only because of the businesses advertising in its pages that we are able to continue bringing you your city magazine. So thank you for supporting them, and for supporting us.
From all of us at CMM, cheers to a new year!