Economic Forecast 2021: How they're taking on the new year, Part 2

Posted by Carlos Renteria on

Economic Forecast 2021: How they're taking on the new year, Part 2

By: Daily Record Staff

From: Jaxdailyrecord

Dennis Chan


Dennis Chan

Blue Bamboo owner 

The primary economic issue for restaurants is adjusting to COVID-19’s impact.

The customer dine-in experience is our restaurant’s strength. Blue Bamboo will tap into “nonregular” markets, such as ready-to-eat takeout, cooking kits and virtual cooking classes.

Our strategy to get more people through our restaurant doors as we move to a new location is making sure that those guests who enter our doors have great experiences so that they can’t wait to come back.

Blue Bamboo will use its move from 3820 Southside Blvd. to 10110 San Jose Blvd. to invest in new ordering technology to minimize contact for the customer who are not ready to physically socialize.


Christy Budnick

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty broker, president and CEO

While 2020 started out slowly for the residential real estate industry, the second half saw low interest rates and a low inventory market in Northeast Florida and across the country. Those trends are expected to continue into 2021.

Realtors are hopeful that those who have been considering selling their home will decide to list them as properties continue to sell for above the asking price.

The end of the year is seeing more higher-end homes selling, which is expected into the new year.

Those properties will be sold quicker as a result of the low inventory market. A wide distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine could help get more homes on the market.

Those who may have been hesitant to sell during a pandemic could see renewed confidence as the country gets vaccinated.

Carlton Robinson


Carlton Robinson

JAXUSA chief innovation officer 

The primary issue will be exploring innovative ways to acquire and develop customers in a hybrid business environment.

The virtual business environment will force small businesses to have better tools and expertise to compete.

The JAX Chamber has spent the last two years leading a digital transformation in entrepreneurial support. The pandemic accelerated those efforts.

Like most small businesses, our “why” has been proven over the years. When facing uncertain times, what’s needed by entrepreneurs is a focus on how they execute.

We listened to the small business community and our Small Business Leaders of the Year to transform how we support the small business community.

Through our JAX Bridges program we were able to facilitate the online movement for more than 200 small businesses during the pandemic.

Leon Haley


Leon Haley

UF Health Jacksonville CEO

2020 wasn’t a typical year for any industry, but especially not health care. Much of the year’s focus was on COVID-19, and that focus will likely carry over into the first half of 2021. 

That means treating patients with COVID and assisting in administering the vaccine.

At the same time, health systems are going to be returning focus to growing their footprints and positioning themselves for the end of 2021 and into 2022.

More plans for construction and expansion can be expected in the next year. Systems will also place a greater emphasis on efficiently delivering health care digitally through telemedicine.

COVID-19 caused a shift in the way health care is delivered, and digital options will likely expand in 2021. 

John Hirabayashi


John Hirabayashi

Community First Credit Union president and CEO

More banking than ever is being done virtually and remotely as a result of the pandemic, and there are no signs of that stopping in 2021. 

People are handling their finances on their phones, computers and by calling into banks rather than going in person.

Banks and credit unions are extending call center hours and making their institutions more accessible to customers.

The deposit rates at Community First Credit Union are more than three times higher than usual, thanks to people saving more and spending less during the pandemic.

As those conditions continue, so will those trends. The Federal Reserve has indicated that interest rates will remain low through the next year, which means mortgages and auto loans are expected to remain strong for banks and credit unions.

Matt Brockelman


Matt Brockelman

The Southern Group lobbyist; Downtown Development Review Board member

The health of Jacksonville’s urban economy will partially depend on the coronavirus-related economic stimulus approved in the U.S. Congress. 

One bright spot in Downtown’s real estate market during the COVID-19 pandemic has been multifamily housing. Residential is an area of Jacksonville’s Downtown market expected to grow in 2021.

On the residential side, people are still flocking to Downtown. The Residences at Barnett has a waiting list, for example.

There seems to be strong demand for Downtown. The Southern Group represents the Florida Theatre. Federal officials need to target workers like artists, stage workers and theater personnel whose livelihoods depend on the in-person experience that was shut down through much of 2020.

It would be helpful if Congress could tailor some fiscal stimulus measures that are oriented toward the people whose industries continue to be devastated by the pandemic.

Thea Jeffers


Thea Jeffers

Breezy Jazz Club owner

The primary economic issue facing entertainment is the effect of COVID-19.

Financial success in 2021 for restaurant and local entertainment venues is possible with plans to avoid being controlled by uncertainty created by COVID-19.

Breezy Jazz Club will expand from a 100-person capacity club Downtown to a 4,450-square-foot location at 1402 San Marco Blvd. in San Marco that seats 155.

Our strategy is wise marketing, proper COVID-19 safety precautions for guests and capitalizing on existing customers and business.

The uncertainty is real, and 2020 has taught us to be ready for anything and creative in our approach.

 The biggest economic issue for the restaurant industry is surviving through being open one month and closed the next. Will our guests come to support us while we all try to recoup from this seemingly endless pandemic?

More forecasts

Read the first part of the economic forecast here

University of North Florida economist Albert Loh optimistic. Story here

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