When I look back at 2021, I began the year in earnest, eager to continue to grow my business. 2020 felt like sitting on the edge of a seat holding your breath hoping that when the dust settled, we could exhale and try to live our “new” normal lives. Nothing was further from the truth. As 2021 progressed, it was abundantly clear that nothing was going to be business as usual. In fact, It was anything but that.
The pandemic changed lives in ways we hadn't imagined. Every day I tried my best to remain positive for my family and friends. Some days this was a real stretch.
Many of the entrepreneurs I’ve come to know walk through experiences that no one will ever see or hear about: endless steps of faith, heartbreaking trials, loss, temporary setbacks, creating things that don’t make sense to anyone else, pulling all-nighters to master a part of your craft, taking intentional rest days when the rest of the world is jettisoning ahead. It’s all part of the entrepreneurial journey that tests and challenges you every single day. Grateful for the village of folks whom I’m fortunate to know and embrace this journey; at times it makes me scratch my head in awe and utter amazement.
During 2020 and 2021, Ainsley Moir, Lisa Sands, Ken Ojuka and Katka Lapelosova invited me to be guests on their podcasts which introduced me to a global audience. Appearances on New Day Cleveland and inclusion in a special makers issue of Cleveland Magazine gave Pat’s entree to new local retailers and customers. And the businesses that carried Pat's (please see below) are a true testament to the power of a vibrant and determined small business community. I am deeply grateful for their ongoing support.
In the midst of a pandemic, it seemed unthinkable to believe I could expand business. But it happened. The unexpected upside was I collaborated with a few outstanding makers including JFetzer Pottery, Sweet Bean Chocolates, Backattack Snacks and Rough Around the Etches to create unique products. Hoping to expand these local maker collaborations in 2022. Read about this here.
The ability to connect with new people, collaborate with local makers and advocate for the community of small businesses was a bonus in 2021. I will continue to clap for others even when it’s not my turn. I’ve said that we are better together and I believe this. Truly.
365 days seems like a long time. It is; however, whenever I felt frustrated or impatient, I'd get a nudge that gave me new insights that would both terrify and excite me. As January unfolds in this new year, I am grateful for each step in this journey which has dared me to follow a dream of a lifetime.
Pat Bennett is the founder and President of Pat's Granola, a Cleveland based food and lifestyle company. Pat's Granola is sold online at www.patsgranola.com and is also available at selected Northeast Ohio businesses including:
Troubadour Coffee Roasters www.troubadourcoffeeroasters.com
Sports and Spine Physical Therapy www.sportspine.com
Locle Box www.loclebox.com
Made Cleveland www.madecleveland.com
Nature's Oasis Lakewood www.naturesoasis.com
Happy Cows Group Share Happy Cows Group Share
Sweet Bean Candies Sweet Bean Candies
The Corner at The Van Aken District The Corner at The Van Aken District
Pat's October 29 appearance on New Day Cleveland
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