ORLANDO, Fla. — Federal officials said 1.1 million U.S. businesses opened and more than 965,000 closed between March 2020 and March 2021 --- the first full year of the pandemic.
One Orlando business that opened during the pandemic is still making a profit.
Romny Marte is the manager of Escobar Kitchen, and the owner is his uncle, Lewis Escobar.
Escobar’s family, including his brother and nephews, runs the Latin Asian fusion sushi eatery.
Escobar said he had to hire his family to bring his unique concept to life.
He started small initially, working 18 hours a day from home, but he expanded in partnership with grocery store Bravo in 2021.
“I was in shock,” Escobar said.
But what he did not expect was how inflation would hurt his bottom line.
Escobar even held out on increasing prices.
“I did increase it about 3 to 4 months ago when the year started,” he said. “The filet mignon that we use here when from 5.99 a pound to $12. So, I had to take that hit the first year.”
According to the U.S. Committee on Ways and Means, 42% of small businesses had to raise their prices in January.
The committee said 46% of small businesses also had to raise employee pay to keep up with inflation.
Escobar now has ten employees, and nearly half are still family members.
To this day, he works shifts so others can have days off, takes orders, makes food and serves. Escobar said it’s all worth it.
“I trust the whole process,” he said. “I know there is no glory without process, and a lot of people go for the glory, but they don’t go for what it takes to get there.”
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