Prospering during the pandemic
May 10, 2022
Small business in Henderson, NV sustained by climate and community.
What explains the impressive resilience of Henderson, Nevada small businesses as they weathered the pandemic and thrived?
“Small business owners were gutsy and smart and quick to react and pivot to stay in business. They had real bravado.”
That’s one explanation that Maria Bailey gives—an explanation born of experience and deep connections to the small business community. Bailey is CEO of Success City Online, a company that has provided cutting-edge digital marketing services to small businesses across the city for a decade. She served as a Chamber of Commerce Ambassador for 15 years and still serves on two Chamber boards. She’s also the immediate past chairman of the Water Street District Business Association (WSDBA); during her chairmanship from 2018 to 2021, Association membership grew from 40 to over 200.
Timely economic development support.
However, just as Bailey credits small business owners she is also quick to note there’s more to their inspiring story—namely, the critical services and outreach they were provided by the Henderson Economic Development team led by Derek Armstrong:
“The city did an exceptional job of supporting and communicating during the pandemic,” she says. “Derek did weekly calls with stakeholders [like representatives from the Chamber and the Water Street Business Association] to make sure we had the latest information so that we could communicate that information to our members. That inclusiveness allowed us to reach more businesses.”
Year-in, year-out advantages.
Bailey points to other pandemic help such as key supplies and data, reflective of the city’s on-going pro-business climate that helps assure small businesses flourish year in, year out. Henderson is “a great place to do business,” she notes, citing advantages like rapid licensing and “approachable officials with an open door policy.”
Small business success is also facilitated by services such as the training and recruitment assistance offered by the new Employ NV Business Hub. Located inside Henderson City Hall, the Business Hub is one of the first in the nation to offer such a comprehensive and convenient level of services. Bailey herself has utilized the Business Hub in filling her company’s staffing needs; Employ NV funds for on-the-job training were made available to Success City Online, allowing the recruitment and training of a new employee who has become a WordPress developer for the company’s website services.
Bailey discovered the new Business Hub during a presentation about it at a WSDBA meeting, an example of the fruitful networking that Henderson facilitates through various business groups and associations.
Community spirit and cohesiveness.
Community spirit is also key in creating a vibrant, thriving business environment. Of the rapid growth of the WSDBA, Bailey notes, “We built on a solid foundation. There was energy and momentum already.” Yet she also credits the Association’s community-minded gesture of eliminating membership fees during the pandemic as a factor that helped maintain WSDBA momentum and growth.
And now that in-person gatherings have returned, WSDBA is helping members stay in touch and in the know during monthly meetings, which are held at different Water Street locations each time. “We’ve had meetings everywhere, from a wedding chapel to the Water Street police precinct,” she says.
As she looks back over the challenges of the pandemic, Bailey extols the spirit of business owners who were “just brave as heck.” Derek Armstrong also admires the spirit of the city’s business owners, and sees small business as a valuable asset well worth the investment and assistance of Henderson Economic Development.
“Even as larger industry has put down roots in Henderson, small business remains crucial to our success and prosperity,” he says. “Small business is not only as a driver of economic growth but also a rich resource in the fabric of our community, adding character and commitment. We are proud to be able to provide support.”