The year began with such promise.
I had landed a bunch of contracts at the end of 2019, ensuring financial stability for the company, and built a small sales staff to begin in March. We ran a promotion based on all the Greensboro basketball tournaments scheduled to run — again in March — with sponsors, a contest with a cash prize and nightly dispatches from the Greensboro Coliseum floor, which I would write myself.
All that went out the window, of course. The coronavirus pandemic would cost Triad City Beat more than $100K in revenue when all was said and done, which is right now, this week, as the fiscal year comes to a close. If it weren’t for the Small Business Administration programs, some well-timed loans and the generosity of our readers, we might not have made it.
In January I had a kid preparing to graduate high school and go off to college, both of which happened but not in the way we thought. Now my middle child has finished one semester at App State University, much of it online, bereft of social interaction, student activities and informal gatherings. The oldest was there, too, for the first semester of his junior year. They didn’t see each other’s dorm rooms until they moved out in December.
I turned 50 this year, in April, but our celebratory trip to Italy did not go down. I spent the day, a Monday, working and maybe feeling a little sorry for myself.
Not much in the way of travel happened at all this year, outside a couple car trips to visit family. Holidays were reduced to in-house affairs. We stopped using the office for production after a staffer tested positive for coronavirus, so with rare exceptions I have been working exclusively from home, at the dining-room table. I’m down to about a tank of gas a month.
My hygiene has been sporadic. My trips to restaurants and coffeeshops have been eliminated almost entirely. I have not been outside my home at night in so long that I forget what it feels like.
I look older. A lot of us do.
Our business has survived the pandemic, and even thrived as the river of news overflowed its banks in 2020, solidifying TCB’s position in the marketplace. I spent more time with my teenage kids this year than I have since they were small; my wife and I have realized that we can absolutely deal with each other under stress, for extended lengths of time. And I finally caught up on my Netflix queue.
There’s a vaccine — several of them, actually — and a new round of PPP on the way, along with a new administration in Washington DC that, so help me, actually gives me some hope. I took a shower yesterday and might even have another today.
And as of this week, 2020 will be over, finally.
To what comes next.