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Highlands business leaders discuss pandemic struggles, growth

Since the global COVID-19 pandemic started, things have changed drastically for businesses across Louisville.
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 12:46 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - For the first time in two years, the Highlands Commerce Guild met in person Wednesday. Since the global COVID-19 pandemic started, things have changed drastically for businesses across Louisville.

In the Highlands, businesses closed and others were forced to limit operations. However, Louisville Tourism says there’s been an upward trend.

“We were truly sad about those [businesses] that did close,” said Nicole Fitzpatrick, Louisville Tourism Community Relations Manager, “but we were surprised as well buy the new restaurants and hotels that are opening.”

One restaurant that opened in the Highlands this year is Big Bad Breakfast. They opened their doors in February. While still aware of the struggle of certain businesses over the past two years, The Endeavor Restaurant group was still confident.

”We purposefully picked that area, because we knew we could be successful,” said Edmond Heelan, the Endeavor COO. “We were nervous, sure, but we’ve seen the types of success in the businesses that do well in that area.”

Big Bad Breakfast has had steady lines since opening; something they’re very pleased with. It’s an indicator perhaps that the city is again a destination for its own residents but also the roughly 16 million people visiting the city each year. That number took a small dip during the pandemic, but it’s back to normal now, if you look at the numbers.

According to Louisville Tourism, during 2020, there was $387 million of lost business due to COVID. In 2021, that number was $148 million. Four months into 2022, that number is under $2 million.

“The interest [in Louisville] has not changed,” said Nicole Fitzpatrick, “and people want to come here and visit our city and attractions.”

Find more from Louisville Tourism here.

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WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @wave3news.(WAVE)

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