North Carolina crushes state record for new businesses created

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Bad economic news has been a bit of a staple in the last few months throughout the country, but how about some good news?

There were more businesses created in North Carolina in 2021 than any other year before.


What You Need to Know

North Carolina set a record in 2021 for new businesses created in a year

2021 saw 178,300 new businesses, which shattered the previous record of 127,000 in 2020

Better pay, time to flesh out ideas and flexible scheduling were all cited as potential reasons why

Over 60 percent of new businesses who responded to a survey from the N.C. Secretary of State’s Office said they simply saw an opportunity

One of those new businesses was ‘Cille & ‘Scoe, a restaurant in downtown Greensboro


Whether it was stir-craziness, more time to flesh out ideas or just the need for a flexible schedule, the entrepreneur in lots of people came out.

“It could have been 1989, and it’s still just this wild celebration,” ‘Cille & ‘Scoe restaurant co-owner Tara Reaves said. “But it did feel good in 2021 because I think we were all over just sitting around, not having anything to do.”

Tara Reaves and her husband, co-owner and chef Sean Reaves, was one of the 178,300 new businesses that opened in 2021. The pair met while Tara Reaves was bussing tables at a restaurant in Jamestown, and Sean Reaves was a cook. Originally, their dream of a restaurant was going to start as a food truck.

“I thought it would be easier to get my foot in the door that way, and then grow into a brick and mortar, have the food truck as an extension,” Sean Reaves said, laughing. “We jumped that altogether.”

Still, though, owning a restaurant seemed like something he was always meant to do.

“Growing up, it was big in my household,” Sean Reaves said. “My father fancied himself a grillman and loved to cook and do biscuits on the weekend [while] my mother always baked as a side hustle.”

So, as a tribute to his family, they named the restaurant after his grandparents: Lucille and Roscoe.

“Her name was Lucille, we called her Mama ‘Cille. So, it was always ‘Cille for short,” Sean Reaves said. “Then I thought about, what if I just shortened my grandfather’s name, ‘Cille and ‘Scoe, and it just really rolled off the tongue.”

The restaurant grew popular quickly. It even had to stop taking reservations because it just couldn’t keep up.

It’s a trend we’re seeing around North Carolina.

The Secretary of State’s Office released statistics showing the Tar Heel state saw a record 178,300 new businesses open in 2021. That breaks 2020’s record of 127,000 by more than 40 percent.

The ones that open seem to be doing well. Of the roughly 400,000 businesses that started in the last three years, about 90% say they’re still in operation.

“We had kind of made it through a point in time in the pandemic where it all looked like numbers were getting better,” Tara Reaves said. “People were really tired of staying home, and you know, reclusing to their houses. So, we thought it’d be the perfect time.”

They weren’t alone in their thinking.

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