New businesses in Rochester emerge out of pandemic passion projects

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(ABC 6 News) – Business after business closed down during the pandemic. Some of them went bankrupt and some lost workers. Now, however, we could be entering a new age. Two new businesses have opened up on Broadway Ave. and 2nd St. in the last week — overcoming the hardship of the pandemic and the current worker shortage.

Paige Jehnke owns Janky Gear. She noticed a new boom in outdoor activity during the pandemic.

"I was sitting at home and I think I was a little bit bored but also didn’t really want to go back to work. I thought, how do I get a business like this going?" Jehnke said.

She runs the shop herself with the help of family and friends. Jehnke wants to hire someone part-time, and although there is a worker shortage, she is optimistic.

"It’s great that the community is already excited and wants to spend time here," she said.

Next door The Fit Loon opened. The owners also got the idea to open their own shop during the pandemic.

"We don’t even necessarily get to call it a job because it’s just a hobby. We love doing it," owner Aili Sella said.

Sam Robinson and Sella also run the shop alone. However, they believe their workload is manageable.

"We’re completely capable of running this business on our own. We can do it ourselves," Sella said.

The pair believes that the isolation of the pandemic lead more young people to follow their passions and make their own hours — reevaluating what they really want to do in life.

"I was no longer happy with what I was doing, and I believe that if you’re gonna have a job you should have a job that you love doing," she said.