Peoria businesses battled unexpected challenges during COVID pandemic

Peoria businesses battled unexpected challenges during COVID pandemic

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Greg Bone, the owner of Bone's in Keller Station, poses for a portrait in his restaurant on Monday, July 19, 2021. Bone opened during the pandemic and has worked 20 hour days in order to keep the restaurant afloat.

Greg Bone sat in his restaurant and could not help but get emotional when talking about the struggle of opening his eatery in 2020. 

Bone, like many others, knew opening a small business would be hard even under normal circumstances. But the COVID-19 pandemic made it more challenging for new business owners locally and beyond.

Still, dozens of small businesses opened their doors for the first time in Peoria in 2020leaping headfirst into a world of unprecedented hardships. Owners of four Peoria small businesses who opened shop in 2020 recently spoke to the Journal Star about their experiences and what they learned.

Bone opened Bone’s restaurant in April 2020; Josh and Bryan Cannon, two Peoria brothers, opened the doors to 1Hundred Degree Fashion Wear in October 2020; Jodie Viera started Crafted DIY Studio and Bar in February 2020; and John Sims debuted Caribbean restaurant Jerk Hut in September 2020.

They had a common theme: Expect the unexpected.

More:Despite COVID challenges, 50+ Peoria-area businesses were started or expanded in past year

A fighter’s mentality to stay open

Bone always wanted to operate his own restaurant and worked as a chef in his younger years. In 2019, he turned down a promotion in his corporate job, deciding it was time pursue his dream.

Greg Bone, the owner of Bone's in Keller Station, poses for a portrait in his restaurant on Monday, July 19, 2021. Bone opened during the pandemic and has worked 20 hour days in order to keep the restaurant afloat.

In November of 2019 construction began on Bone’s at 6015 Knoxville Ave., with a plan to open in April 2020 serving burgers, custard, fries and salads. Then the pandemic came, and Bone’s dream quickly became what he called a “nightmare scenario.”

Some of the vital equipment he needed to open got delayed, and when indoor dining was banned he had to pivot to a take-out only operation. 

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