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Carolina businesses start-up despite COVID-19 pandemic

It may not sound like a great time to start a business, but for two people in the Carolinas, now was the time to find a new path.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Some good news — 1.4 million people went back to work in August and the unemployment rate fell to 8 point 4% according to the United States Labor Department.  

While the COVID-19 pandemic put millions of people out of work last spring, some of those people made the move to re-invent themselves and start a new business.  Sixty-nine percent of startups start their business at homes or in their garage.

Lauree Criss lives on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, she started “At Your Service Hilton Head”, a residential concierge for second homeowners who may not be able to get down to the island to service of check their properties.

“I came up with this idea because most of the people on my street actually have a primary residence somewhere else, usually in a different state,” Criss said.

Credit: Lauree Criss

Hilton head has 39,000 full time but 2.6 million visitors according to the Hilton Head Chamber of Commerce. It is one of the most popular second-home destinations in the southeast. “There is a need for people to watch the property, check on it during a storm, or even just be there to meet the handyman to make sure the house is secure” Criss added.

Credit: Lauree Criss

Criss knows the island and the culture of Hilton Head very well, she said she has been going there since she was a little girl. I also love that I watched my kids grow up on these beaches, it’s a wonderful place and it’s home”. Criss said.

RELATED: SC Woman Killed by Alligator While Walking Her Dog on Hilton Head Island

On the other side of the Carolinas, another idea created income out of pure passion.  Alex Briante is a college student and when he was looking for a job, the typical college jobs of bar-tending or even food service weren’t there, so, meet Cashier’s newest fly-fishing guide. 

Credit: Alex Briante

“It’s calming, it’s something I love and enjoy,” Briante said.

This young man dove right in and is turning what he loves to do into cold hard cash. Briante’s catches are postcards for what’s special about the western North Carolina area.

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“It’s a place to e to unwind, cool off, and leave your problems behind as well as create memories,” Briante said.  Briante credits his love of fishing to his grandfather who often fished with him in lakes and streams.

Credit: Alex Briante

Briante works as a guide for Brookings Anglers in Cashiers North Carolina.  

"The streams out here give us the opportunity to go get lost in great scenery, we enjoy taking customers out there and hopefully we’ll give them an experience they’ll never forget” said Briante.