Rebuilding America: Acadiana businesses hopeful that better days are ahead

For Mary Hopkins, 2020 was supposed to be positive.

Back in February, Hopkins and her husband, Jim, went to France to buy wares for their store, Renaissance Market — a shop in the Oil Center known for French antiques, vintage Chanel jewelry and other unique merchandise. 

The trip was a "leap of faith," she said, hoping that the economy, especially oil and gas, would hold up. They filled a 40-foot container with goods, but months later, the container is still in France due to issues caused by coronavirus.

"We never thought that this is what it was going to be," Hopkins said. "Not that it's any different from anybody else. We had looked at 2020 as a very positive thing, but then ... boom."

Despite the setbacks brought on by COVID-19 and the crash of oil and gas the owners of Renaissance Market — like many small business owners in Acadiana — are hopeful for the future.

'It's like someone pulled the rug from underneath you'

COVID-19's economic impact has been widespread in Acadiana, as businesses have had to adapt to keep customers and employees safe, as well as comply with local and state requirements.

Along with other regional development groups, One Acadiana, the chamber of commerce for both Lafayette Parish and the Acadiana region, has done two surveys to gauge the impact the virus had on businesses. The first survey, done in March, included nearly 1,000 respondents, and the second, done in April and May, included nearly 500.

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