COVINGTON, Ky. — Starting a business is no easy feat, but starting one during a pandemic and at the start of a recession isn't something that happens often.

“We are out front of what used to be a Carriage Manufacturing company. So this is where they made buggy horses, repaired them and this was in 1909,” said Chuck Patton. His business is under construction.

Patton is preserving a historic building and creating space for cats and people, calling it Purrfect Day Cafe Covington. He’s partnered with a team that also worked on his cat cafe in Louisville.

Patton’s expansion is an example of a business starting up during the pandemic.

“It doesn't matter what time of the, where we’re at in the business cycle, we always have businesses that are opening and closing,” said Janet Harrah, an Northern Kentucky University economist.

Harrah said what we’re seeing right now is very volatile 

“You have a lot of businesses that are struggling even as we have new businesses opening. But we saw the same thing in the Great Depression. We have lots of famous companies that started in a Great Depression, opened up in the Great Depression,” Harrah said.

Harrah said there are always business opportunities and challenges, but what matters is how those same places rise to those challenges.

To survive and thrive during a recession, the expert said financial stability is key while paying attention to balance sheets and having cash on hand, all lessons learned from the 2008 recession.

“We have new challenges today that did not exist in 2008. And the successful small businesses, whether they're ones that are re-opening or opening for the very first time, there’s a whole new business model that they’re going to have to deal with,” Harrah said.

Parts of that business model include offering contactless payment options and using social media or other virtual means to advertise, but the focus on any business model will revolve on safety measures— Measures Patton has already thought of.

“We’re hoping we can be a light side of things and provide people with more optimism that there’s something coming around the corner,” Patton said.

The owner said he plans to open his doors of the Purrfect Day Cafe Covington sometime in the middle of August.