HELENA — Everyone has been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another.
Small businesses though have shouldered more than their fair share, between shutdowns and customer uneasiness.
But not all small businesses have let this pandemic slow them down. One Helena bike shop I spoke with told me business has actually been pretty good.
“A lot of people have taken up cycling again," said Big Sky Cycling owner Jim Barnes. "Bringing out their old bikes, and picking up new bikes for the family. So it’s been a busy time.”
Outdoor recreational businesses like Big Sky Cycling have seen improved sales across the country in the wake of COVID-19, with more and more people looking for ways to socially distance themselves.
"It’s just a great way to exercise," said Barnes. "Spend some time. And people are just rediscovering that.”
Some customers are having to wait a little longer to make that discovery though.
With the increase in sales comes as supply chain issues, you could say bikes, and bike parts, have hit a bump in the road.
"We’ve never run out of bikes the way we have right now," added Barnes. "We have bikes for sale and we have small shipments coming in and filling us in, but the store is not as stocked up as we typically would be this time of the year.”
Too much business is a good problem to have. Especially when compared to the uncertainty Jim, like many other business owners, were facing a few months ago and applying for government loans.
"We didn’t know what to expect, so we thought as a safety net, we didn’t know if we would be able to stay open, for one," said Barnes. "So we did apply for it.”
But with the way things are going for Big Sky Cycling the road, at least for now, looks clear up ahead.
“Honestly, we may end up paying those back pretty quickly,” added Jim.