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Operating a Business During a Pandemic

by Ben Butzke, Board Chair, Grimes Chamber & Economic Development (Butzke Burch Construction)

February 2021 Newsletter Article

In February 2020, Matt Burch and I started Butzke Burch Construction during one of the highest points in history for construction in Central Iowa. We were so excited to meet with architects, developers, commercial brokers and other influencers in our industry to talk about our new company. We were able to do this for about six weeks and then suddenly, everything stopped. The adjustment to pandemic life began and most people started working from home. Our first thought was that we could simply ride this out for a month or two and then get back to doing our normal business. Boy, were we ever wrong! It quickly set in that the first year of our business was going to be comprised of learning to adapt in order to survive.


Like others, we started meeting virtually to get our name out there and were able to secure a few projects along the way. This was encouraging, but we needed to modify our plans for growth and focus on a new strategic path. Although we were a new business, and heavily affected by the pandemic, this was a general theme for any business operating in 2020.


My wife, Jacque Butzke, owns and operates Inspiring Dance in Grimes and was forced to repeatedly adjust how she conducted classes and lessons. She had to upgrade network equipment to keep up with Zoom, YouTube and other data hogs. She hosted her annual dance recital in small groups in the lobby of the dance studio in lieu of a large high school auditorium. Now, in the winter of 2021, the lobby is still closed to parents. All staff and dancers are required to wear masks and competition season will look very different.


I don’t talk about the struggles for sympathy, but to show how throughout 2020 we have learned to operate our businesses in a constantly changing environment. We learned to be flexible and have grace with our staff, clients and partners. Restaurants, bars, retail stores, and every other type of business has adjusted course and I hope we will all be better for it moving forward. I hope that kindness and patience with business owners, employees and patrons sticks around. I hope that 2021 is a year that we can all recover, grow and move forward without forgetting these invaluable lessons. Cheers to this new year!



Note from GCED: Learn more about Ben’s business and many more by visiting #LoveGrimes

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