Three years ago, on March 21st of 2020, Illinois was shut down by government order. Years from now, as you sit near a roaring fire and your grandchildren or great-grandchildren ask what it was like during the Great Pandemic, how will you answer?
After working through what was certainly one of the most difficult times in American business history, attention must be paid.
I still remember the Friday before the shut down order took effect, as I read the online version of The Chicago Tribune. It said that a press conference would be held that afternoon where the Governor would close most businesses.
I looked at it in disbelief, but had prepared for such an eventuality. We had installed software on our system so that our people could work from home and had even purchased printers for them to take home.
Working virtually was a disaster for our company. Efficiencies waned as did our quality. Our team concept promoting the highest standards of quality in the industry couldn’t be done virtually, so I put an end to it quickly.
I remember how empty the streets were that summer. At lunchtime, I normally take a stroll down Bryn Mawr, to clear my head during a difficult tax season.
In the earlier parts of the pandemic as I walked, others walking in the other direction would often cut across the street, rather than be in any sort of a close proximity. Such was the fear many had as they watched the numbers of the sick and dying climb on CNN.
Anxiety in the business community led to despair, so our government started passing out money. Acronyms such as PPP, EIDL, and ERC, became part of our lexicon.
Entrepreneurs, myself included, who’d never taken a handout in their entire lives learned a new reality. The pandemic began to forever change our way of doing business.
Then the George Floyd riots erupted. We all watched in horror as residents who’d long cried about a lack of investment in their communities burned down their own neighborhoods. Many sat in their offices with a shotgun on their lap.
Several months into the pandmeic, the government began reopening procedures. It was slow at first, but then began a sort of hope that the madness would someday end.
And on a bright, sunny day in June of 2021, the government lifted the final restrictions. But just because we could again do business and congregate without the reality of Big Brother coming to jail us, didn’t mean that things had actually returned to normal.
Our downtown is still almost empty given the virtual workplace. Tourists are yet to return in reasonable numbers. Hotels still have entire floors that are closed and most of the restaurants aren’t open at night.
Let me leave you with this.
In difficult times, I always take a step back to take stock of the situation. As we stare down the barrel of another lousy economy, the question becomes what have we learned?
I remember my now sainted Grandfather, an almost full-blooded Cherokee Indian, talking about how difficult it was here in Chicago during the race riots of the 50’s and 60’s. Whether it was the Englewood Race Riots, the Division Street Riots, or even the West Side Riots of 1966, those were difficult times for an American Indian family fresh off the reservation.
Those instances were certainly not the end to Chicago’s political and racial difficulties. Who can forget the protests back in ’68 at the National Democratic Convention where our Mayor instructed the police to shoot first and ask questions later?
Then came the national economic recession during the Carter years. As a young boy working at the family business, I’ll never forget the dread and outright panic of those times.
But through all the difficulties, we raised our families, built our businesses, and lived the American Dream.
As national newscasters talk about the problems we know all too well, the rest of our nation shakes their heads in mutual disgust. They wonder how anyone can possibly live in a place so ravaged by crime, gangs, and the rest of society’s ills.
But this place that others call Hell, we call home. And what doesn’t kill you makes you strong.
True Chicagoans aren’t like the rest of America. We don’t just pack up a leave at the first sight of a problem.
We stand our ground, we grow, and we prosper. Like our forefathers who built this great nation, we don’t run from a fight.
The last three years were hard, and the next three might not be any easier, but hang in there. You aren’t in this fight alone. We’re right there with you, standing shoulder to shoulder.
Accounting Solutions Ltd. stands ready to complete our mission and purpose of protecting you, your family, and your business. Whether you need Employee Retention Credits, M&A Due Diligence, Payroll Services, or Accounting and Tax Work, you have but to ask. I’m here and I remain,
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