TAMAQUA, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders have taken a massive toll on local businesses. In Tamaqua it was actually a priority before everything hit.

“That’s what, mom and pop shops, basically all we have around here,” Kimberly Haley of Tamaqua said.

Pre-COVID, the push for new and expanding small business was on. The popular Wheel restaurant in Pottsville taking advantage to branch out and set up shop on Broad.

“It’s great to be able to reopen. It’s even better to be opening a new business during this pandemic. It’s really awesome,” Wheel owner Savas Logothetides said.

Logothetides has been instrumental in the local business community and credits the culture with success both past and future.

“Small businesses is a huge backbone in Schuylkill County so there is so much resiprocity and so much support going back and forth between the community and the small business community. It’s the reason why both can be successful,” Logothetides said.

The global pandemic throwing a wrench into the mix? It took more than a year to finally get the doors open. But they are with QR code menus, social distancing and other precautions.

“It’s really important line to walk that you maintain social responsibility while also doing what’s best for your business,” Logothetides said.

Kimberly Haley works at nearby Hope & Coffee and says it’s not just new business bringing hope, but it helps.

“Now that everything’s coming back and we get to do sit-ins and now the Wheel’s here? I think it’s going to be a lot more happier time,” Haley said.

Some in the borough have taken initiative to the next level. Laid off in mid-March, Frederick King and family took it upon themselves to seize opportunity.

“Due to the fact that I’m in the building and I don’t mind it; I figured , if the economy starts back up, why can’t I?” King said.

Instead of welding and concrete, King is now filling orders for custom-made beds, tables, and more. Other members of the family now owners of Proud LLC’s in their infancy.

“You can’t get nowhere sitting down. Due to the pandemic and everything else? The best way to do it is stand up. I figured the best way to get back into this world; the best way to get back up in life is to open my own business and it’s starting off alright,” King said.