DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — From COVID-19 and its variants, to pandemic restrictions and the impact of inflation, 2021 presented a whirlwind of challenges for many businesses.

For many small businesses in the Miami Valley, staying afloat going into the second year of a pandemic meant learning to be flexible.

“It was so many tough lessons and so many happy ones too,” said Crystal Coppock, a sous-chef at Wheat Penny. “I learned the value of teamwork and being embraced by the community. It’s been a challenge. It’s been about learning what to do, when to move and in what direction, learning to anticipate, and rolling with the punches.”

Recently at Wheat Penny’s business has been steady, but 2021 had its challenges. In the new year, Coppock said they’d like to get back to normal.

“As we go on I’d love to see us moving in a happy and healthier direction. I’m just excited to see people come in the restaurant and be able to celebrate,” Coppock said.

Down the road at Dublin Pub, things are looking up. “The numbers may have been up a little bit from 2020, but we’re just hoping to get through this wintertime and the holidays safely,” said owner Steve Tieber.

Staff at both restaurants express optimism for 2022.

“We’re all hoping to have some normalcy but we’ll see what happens,” Tieber said.