WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – New numbers show business is picking up in Kansas. 

Several owners who said starting a new business during a pandemic takes three things: a great community, willingness to adapt, and a large leap of faith. So far, it’s paying off. 

“We’ve just had to figure it out as we’ve went along,” said Cool Crepe owner Theodore Smith. 

For Smith, he’s joined a Coop to help launch his business. He said it’s a less risky way to balance the pandemic and the new business.

“Other businesses have had to scale back and have brought their business here, it’s less risky,” he said. 

For Dodge City restaurant Thai Garden, the family business was hesitant to open their business at first.

“At first, it was pretty scary,” said Thai Garden Sandra Phaengsy.

Same with An-Ex Bar N Grill owner Wayde Richards. Richards said he almost backed out from his dream of being a business owner after his wife had a heart attack and the concerns with the pandemic. 

“I wanted to sell it, but she told me not to so here I am,” said Richards. 

While emotions were high for all businesses, the owners said the risk was worth it. 

“The community is why I wanted to do this,” said Richards. 

“There has been a community response of trying to support small business so that’s been great,” said Smith

“The pandemic didn’t really stop us, we just kept on going and going,” said Phaengsy.

Kansas is seeing a 15% increase in new business applications compared to last year. That is a total of 460 applications to date. 

It has these new business owners staying hopeful business will continue to trend upward. 

Nationwide, the census shows a 44% increase from last year in new business applications.