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'We have to do what we have to do' | Small businesses struggling in the metro

Recent closures of Java Joes and Fong's Pizza show the issues that many businesses are facing right now.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The last few days have seen a string of high-profile closings to metro-area businesses. 

Java Joe's is shuttering its downtown location and moving its coffee roasting to Ankeny. Fong's Pizza just off Drake University's campus announced its closure Tuesday. 

Stories like these are becoming increasingly common for small businesses in the area— it's taking more and more effort to make things work.

"Me and my partner work almost seven days a week, just to try to keep it open," said Nsut Li, co-owner of Pho Real Kitchen & Bar in downtown Des Moines. "It's hard work, but it's a small business family, so I think we have to do what we have to do."

Li is one of many small business owners that have been putting in extra time to keep his doors open. It's a difficult situation to be in; although restaurant and hospitality spending has returned to pre-COVID levels, according to the Greater Des Moines Partnership, owners are dealing with new issues.

"Our traffic patterns have changed, some supply chain headwinds as well. And then there's also workforce challenges that we continue to hear from businesses across the board," said Meg Schneider, Senior Vice President of Business Resources and Community Development with the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

RELATED: Americans ramped up retail spending a strong 1.7% last month

With supply and worker shortages happening across the country, what's a small business to do? The holidays should be a big help— the National Retail Federation is predicting that holiday sales could grow nearly 10.5% from 2020. 

And in Iowa, there's plenty of assisting hands for business owners in need of one.

"The SBDC, Small Business Development Center, and SBA are phenomenal resources for small businesses that are needing help. And I would encourage a small business that is encountering challenges to reach out," Schneider said.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership has its own resources available to small business owners, such as connecting with mentors in the community who can help businesses grow. Those tools can be found here.

There's some additional good news to share, as well. Iowa is actually seeing a significant spike in new business filings— with a month and a half left to go this year, Iowa has seen more filings for new businesses than in all of 2019.

WATCH | Small businesses finding a way through the adversity 

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