Businesses is booming and blooming in Shelby County

FROM STAFF REPORTS / Editorial 

Just more than a year after the start of COVID-19 in Alabama and businesses are both booming and blooming this spring.

After the virus forced many to shut their doors temporarily or permanently over the last year and sent the unemployment rate soaring, we’re starting to see a major boom in the economy across the county.

Businesses familiar to the community are starting to flourish again with more people getting vaccinated and feeling comfortable going out in public again, while new businesses are sprouting.

It’s proof that brighter days are always ahead.

Just like the devastation of the recent tornado outbreak in Shelby County brought people together to rebuild, the economy has done the same since the destruction caused from coronavirus.

Houses have already started being repaired and flowers have started blooming in areas that were ravaged by the two EF3 tornadoes, and while there are still many digging out of a hole, those are signs of hope.

The economy has given us the same hope.

After the unemployment rate soared to more than 10 percent in Shelby County a year ago, it is now down to 2.1 percent, which is near the record-low mark it was at last February before the virus hit.

That’s a remarkable turnaround after hitting 14.7 percent in April 2020.

Businesses were laying off employees left and right, and nobody would dare think about making new hires or opening a new business.

Now, like those flowers blooming in the early spring following the destructive tornadoes, we’re seeing businesses regain their strength and new ones come to life.

People are no longer scared to take a chance on opening a business in local communities, especially in such a stable area such as Shelby County, which has the state’s lowest unemployment rate.

Chelsea is one of the cities seemingly committed to building for the future as one of the fastest-growing cities in the state.

The city has recently announced the opening of four new businesses with Arby’s, AutoZone, Buffalo Wild Wings and a RaceTrac all coming to the city this year.

In addition to that, a new chicken restaurant called Chicken Fry’d owned by the people behind Station 31 and Main Street Tavern is coming soon as well.

Helena held its grand opening for a new Chick-fil-A on April 8, one of the top fast food restaurants in the state, while other businesses have also opened recently in the city.

In north Shelby County along U.S. 280, a new strip center called Cahaba Market is opening next to Hugh Daniel Drive, which will feature a Dunkin’ and several other businesses as well.

In addition to that, Alabaster, Calera, Columbiana, Montevallo and other areas along U.S 280 all have new restaurants or businesses set to open this year.

From the depths of despair we were in a year ago at this time with signs on doors signaling closures due to a statewide mandate, we have overcome a freefall into the unknown.

Our parachutes have opened, and our feet have hit the ground. Now, we’re off and running to a more comfortable way of life.