HOUSTON - After the pandemic sent tens of millions to the unemployment line, many have been able to return to the workplace, while others see the growing economy as an opportunity to reinvent themselves.
In Northwest Houston, near the Willowbrook neighborhood, the newly-opened Sak's Donuts is part of a statistical tidal wave of new businesses.
Government records show, through May, 2.5 million new business applications were filed. That's a pace that could hit 6 million, by years end. For owner Johny Rim, who gets up at 2 a.m to make the donuts, it's about a dream.
"I've been wanting to work for myself a long time," he says.
Rim's cousin started Sak's Donuts a decade ago. After moving to Texas, from California, Rim started learning the business, with an eye toward opening his own franchise.
Now, along with his wife and aunt, the day begins with donuts and kolaches made from scratch. All the hard work is rewarded when customers come through the door.
"It makes people wide awake and on the go; being able to pick-up on their way to work," says Rim, "It's fast in and out, you know?"
Reaching this goal has been a challenge. Starting a business can be expensive and complicated. Getting everything built, and securing the appropriate permits and licenses, has taken time and patience. Opening the door has been an irresistible leap of faith.
"There a lot of things going on, but sometimes I have to take risks to open one and see how it goes," says Johny Rim.
The challenge here is the 'odds'. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one of every five new businesses close within the first year. While open, though, they bring enormous value to a community, with $48 of every $100 spent there staying local.
Johny Rim is undeterred, living his dream seven days a week, 365-days a year, and already thinking about when he might be able to open his next donut shop.