Local companies form during pandemic as business applications surge nationally

Local companies form during pandemic as business applications surge nationally

Olivia Sandusky


The United States is experiencing a surge in new business applications, despite the economic challenges brought on by COVID-19 restrictions.

The increase in applications has led to new businesses arriving in the Coachella Valley, including Vagabond Roasting Company, a business that formed during the beginning of the pandemic.

Casey Ruiz, photographed by Mason Katzen

“I kind of, like, sat down and I brainstormed ideas that I could kind of work with and I started roasting coffee. So that’s really when Vagabond Roasting Company started was at the end of March,” said Casey Ruiz, owner and creator of Vagabond Roasting Company. 

Kaley Perez. graphics creator

Ruiz, a 20-year-old entrepreneur, uses his 1981 Volkswagen Vanagon to sell his own roasted coffee beans at local pop-up events, and Kaley Perez creates the company’s graphics.

The business uses a mobile model that is fairly pandemic proof.

“We’ve definitely adapted to it [the pandemic]. We ship our coffee or deliver it to your house and we also have batch drinks that we also deliver so it’s all contact-less, not really a hands-on sort of thing,” said Ruiz. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Vagabond Roasting Company is one of several businesses that has formed during the pandemic.

Their latest report shows over 1,500,000 business applications were submitted in the third quarter this year, up from about 850,000 this time last year.

That number is also a 77 percent jump from the second quarter of this year.

The data shows that unemployed Americans are searching for new sources of income at a time when interest rates are relatively low.

It also highlights a sharp increase in online, COVID-19 friendly startups that are dominating the market.

For in-person retail, essential services like farmer’s markets have given new companies a chance to interact with the community, during a time when those opportunities are limited.

“It’s been a great opportunity for them and our customers often tell us that this is the one place they feel safe shopping,” said Megan Goehring, manager of the certified famers’ markets in the Coachella Valley. 

And staff for companies like Vagabond Roasting Company are thankful for the valley’s support during this challenging year.

“We’re excited to just be a part of it. We’ve met tons of really great people. We’ve made a lot of friends just through being partners and having close relationships with other businesses,” said Ruiz. 

On Vagabond Roasting Company’s website it says “there aren’t many coffee roasters in the desert so we try and promote the art and science of coffee to our locals and educate them about specialty coffee one bag at a time. Ethical coffee sourcing is what we take pride in and we hope it’s equally as important to you.”

Vagabond Roasting Co. coffee

The company can be contacted here, or found at your local farmers’ market.

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