As mass vaccination centers propel the nation’s rising immunization rate, businesses large and small are calculating a year’s worth of damage and trying to define the contours of a “new normal.”
There is encouraging news. The government stimulus spurring last month’s 8% rise in retail sales along with a new report that jobless claims have fallen to a pandemic low are spurring optimism in a reemerging business climate with many companies predicting a return to pre-Covid profitability by the end of 2021.
This is tempered, however, by the thousands, if not millions, of small businesses that have closed forever in the immense shadow of half a million deaths.
The Spy reached out to Benchworks CEO Thad Bench to talk about managing his business during Covid and what the “new normal” might look like going forward.
Benchworks is a comprehensive marketing services agency founded in 1991 and headquartered in Chestertown with offices in Philadelphia and Boston. Throughout the decades the marketing and branding company has been recognized with countless awards for its leadership qualities and innovative production accomplishments.
Still, the CEO has not lost sight of his beloved Kent County and the need for business strategies beyond the setbacks of the pandemic.
“I think that quality retail establishments and restaurants are clearly important to the vibrancy of Chestertown. The more we have, the better in that we can become more of a culinary/shopping destination,” Bench said.
He adds that he sees a real opportunity to scale commercial activity and employment in Kent county is to attract knowledge workers and organizations that employ them. Data centers, software companies, etc., are no longer geofenced.
“The question is what can we can do to attract tech companies and provide them with quality employees. Recruiting talent from Philadelphia, Annapolis, and beyond is feasible given the lessons we have learned from the pandemic.”
Bench, a two-year member of Washington College’s Board of Visitors and Governors, says Washington College is considering sponsoring a technology incubator with a focus on environmentally focused businesses. This makes a lot of sense and plays to Chestertown’s unique geography and rural character.
This video is approximately ten minutes in length.