Fort Myers

Despite the risks of the pandemic, new business applications are up 51% in Florida.

While many business openings were delayed, a number have proceeded after a period of adjustment.

A coffee shop in downtown Fort Myers is all too familiar with the process.

The Green Cup closed at the beginning of the pandemic. When loyal customer Robert Podgorski heard the news, he saw it as an opportunity to save the shop and become a first-time business owner.

“Does sound a little scary,” Podgorski said of opening during the pandemic. “It doesn’t seem like the time for a lot of people that want to start a new venture, but in biology, when a tree falls down, you’ll see a lot more life come from it.”

He says he was able to buy the place for cheaper than he expected. After submitting a new business application, he reopened the doors in August.

“We feel pretty blessed,” Podgorski said. “I mean, if you look at numbers and different things, you might think we’re slower than normal, but to say we’re in the middle of off-season, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of a giant reconstruction of downtown, we saw a lot of resurgence of love come back to the building.”

His advice to new business owners: Stick to what you know, have confidence and be patient.

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