WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Wichita’s small business community set up shop this weekend at the historic downtown Union Station for the BuyICT Summer Market, a collaborative event with Bringing it Black and Women Empowered Market. Some business owners said despite the pandemic and supply chain issues they are thriving. 

A study from Guidant Financial shows that more than 50 percent of businesses were started within the last five years. Operating during a pandemic for majority of that time has been hard for some business owners but entrepreneurs at Saturday’s market said they’re finding their footing in this unpredictable economy. 

“Having a thriving, flourishing business, it comes with its challenges,” Jennifer Penner, owner of H&H Collection, said. 

H&H Collection, a new business started in 2020, offers allergy and asthma-friendly scented candles, but the product comes at a cost. 

“We have one particular supplier that we look at for our fragrance oils,” Penner said. “We have to of course purchase them in bulk. That means the shipping price is going to go up because it’s coming from North Carolina.” 

Penner is not the only business owner feeling the pain from the supply chain. Daddy Daughter Decor — started in late 2019 — sells hand-painted flower pots and they’re navigating the same issue. 

“People are running out of pots like they were running out everything else,” David Williams, Daddy Daughter Decor co-owner, said. We’ll go somewhere and find 100 pots and purchase all of them, and they kind of look at us like, ‘You want 100 of these?’” 

For these business owners, the pandemic definitely helped — some making the tough decision to quit their full-time jobs to focus on entrepreneurship. 

“I have a more available schedule to travel from weekend to weekend in different cities,” Wei Li, Simple Morea owner, said. “Before, I may be doing 15 shows a year. Now, we can do 50 to 60.” 

Li started his business five years ago while working as an aerospace engineer. Even though the time dedicated to their craft has increased, some noticed the money they poured into their business to make up for rising costs has gone up, too. 

“We do tend to a dip into our personal account a little bit,” Penner said, “but at the end of the day, we’re a thriving business, and we’re going to continue to move forward.” 

Each business owner said they’ve expanded their services recently. H&H offers a candle-making bar for customers to create their own scented candles, while Daddy Daughter Decor plans to create a collection different themed pots.