BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — It's Small Business Week, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) says 2021 showed promise of a rebound, with Americans applying to start 5.4 million businesses.

What You Need To Know

  • The Small Business Administration says 5.4 million businesses started last year

  • Locally, 604 businesses opened in Melbourne in 2021, down from 745 in 2020

  • Local bar owner Randy Bennett says some customers may not want to support a small business because they can be understaffed

The SBA says the number of new small businesses is 20% more than any year on record. Randy Bennett has owned Hurricane Creek Saloon in downtown Melbourne for six years. Each year, the business continued to grow, then came 2020.

"I don't think any service or hospitality business has 100% recovered yet," Bennett told Spectrum News.

According to the SBA, businesses with fewer than 50 workers created 1.9 million jobs in the first three quarters of 2021. More locally, 604 new businesses opened in Melbourne in 2021. Although that's a strong number, its down from 745 in 2019.

Bennett's saloon shut down for a period of time during the pandemic, but was able to reopen. But Bennett hasn't had a full staff since 2020. Before the pandemic thirty employees worked for him. Right now, they are only open nights, and twenty employees are keeping things up and running.

"Our biggest problem is still finding enough employees to service the demand from our customers," Bennett says. "It's not that customers don't want to come, it's just they don't want to go to place where they know you are short handed and they may not be able to be served properly or fast enough."

Bennett says supporting small businesses like his is more critical now than ever before. "At the end of the day, we just want people to get back out and enjoy living life," he tells us.​

Right now there are 32 million small businesses in the U.S. Small Business Week has been recognized for more than fifty years.