SOUTH SIOUX CITY -- From scary to exciting, it's been an emotional roller coaster of a year for South Sioux City business owners.
The last time we caught up with developer Chris Krueger, he was just starting to build a strip mall in South Sioux City.
Stores are filling the shoes of that foundation, such as a Greek Restaurant opening next week.
"There's a lot of Greeks in the city and it's picking up," said 'Greek to Me' owner Chris Atanopolous. He and his brother Tony are excited to bring their parent's meals to the city -- but it wasn't all sunshine and gyros -- they faced some heavy costs getting here. "It's been crazy [...] from coolers to freezer shortages," Chris Antonopolous said.
"And it was scary when we opened because we signed the lease right before the pandemic hit," Tony Antonopolous said.
Plus, there's a shortage of labor according to Kreuger, too. In fact, some stores in South Sioux City are still struggling with shortages, like Wilmes Hardware.
"During the pandemic, we saw more foot traffic with home projects [...] but now we have a product shortage -- we can't even get can lids," said Emily Matteson, owner. Businesses like hers are starting to slow down while others pick up.
Still, there's a sense of optimism.
"In fact when we were looking for a place to eat last Saturday, they were all full!" said Kristi Quinn, interim president of the South Sioux City Chamber of Commerce.
It's not just the mall that's developing in town. Businesses are popping up and growing exponentially in South Sioux City since the pandemic eased.
Quinn noted they've seen ten new businesses open up within the year. She's seen local hotels hiring more to keep up with demand, and the mood of the city is turning around.
"Small business generates a community feeling and makes it feel like it's home," Quinn said.
One of those new local businesses is Sweetwater Cafe. Operations Manager Melissa Perera said they just opened a third location.
"It's nice to see people wanting to get out more," said Perera.
Meanwhile, Crystal Cafe in town reported an income higher than pre-COVID, 2019 rates.
Business owners hope the success continues to grow in South Sioux City.