As I write this, the U.S. is on edge. But we’ve come to know this feeling well in 2020. Fortunately, Americans are resilient and New Yorkers have always set an example for the rest of the nation when it comes to endurance.
Given I’ve lived in NYC for less than two years, I wouldn’t say I’m a “New Yorker”. I haven’t earned the title. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in 2020. And while things are far from perfect, NYC is not a “lawless ghost-town”. Like Jerry Seinfeld, I’m confident that NYC will “bounce back” as it has time and time again.
At Ketner Group, we anticipated a year of growth in 2020 for Ketner Group, at large, and in NYC. However, like everyone else, we had to pivot and adjust our outlook for the year.
A solid start to 2020
When I relocated to NYC, I wasn’t trying to set a Ketner Group trend. But soon, other Austin team members began planning for adventures in the big city.
In December 2019, Ketner Group resident comedian, Greg Earl, returned to the Tri-State area to be closer to his beloved White Castle (and maybe, also his family in New Jersey). Greg’s arrival was followed by the arrival of the ever-steady and reliable Jenna Jordan, who became the third transplant to NYC.
In mid-January, other members of the Ketner Group team joined us for our annual NRF adventure. As newly-minted locals, Greg, Jenna and I had the opportunity to show the rest of the team around our new “hometown.” In Ketner Group tradition, we celebrated a successful NRF, with a Broadway show. This year’s choice was “TINA, The Tina Turner Musical,” and we enjoyed an evening of dancing and singing in our seats.
Once NRF concluded, we settled into our new-ish, larger NYC office space and welcomed our first NYC intern, Jenny Bradford.
On March 12, we gathered at the NYC office one last time before heading home for what we hoped would be a few weeks. As the days at home stretched on, an eerie mix of silence and sirens set in across the city.
The pandemic unfolded and Ketner Group, like everyone, faced uncertainties. Clients conserved budgets and new business inquires slowed. Meanwhile, Ketner Group continued to find ways to lift our spirits and maintain some sense of normalcy. As the summer approached, we took a page out of NYC’s playbook and implemented “Summer Fridays” for the first time. Additionally, we launched our new webinar series, KG Connects.
But through it all, New Yorkers couldn’t be kept down. Every night at 7 p.m., we gathered at our windows, on our stoops and sidewalks, to cheer on essential workers.
Rounding the corner
As COVID-19 surged across the rest of the country, New York began phased reopening in late May and early June. As NYC reopened, Ketner Group experienced a swift uptick in new business inquiries. Suddenly, we found ourselves flooded with interest, especially from retail tech companies.
In NYC, residents who had spent the last few months inside or in walking distance from their homes, longed for a changed of scenery. For many, that meant returning, in some capacity, to the workplace. Jenna and I returned to the office, masks on, and moved into a smaller space. We now share a one-person office to get out of our apartments every couple weeks. Greg and Jenny continue to work remote.
Furthermore, the NYC office took on two new retail tech clients at the forefront of the shifting focus of retail to digital channels. We’re looking forward to fostering these client relationships and helping both vendors build awareness of their solutions in the industry.
Going for a strong finish
As 2020 rapidly approaches its end and we head into 2021, we’re looking up. Jeff and I participated in Shoptalk Meetups in October and were overwhelmed with the response we received from tech vendors. In October, we also welcomed Jackie Trebilcock of The New York Fashion Tech Lab to KG Connects.
To further illustrate the New York’s resiliency, the Ketner Group New York team has made it to the other side intact! While 2020 was not everything we hoped, we’re closing out the year strong and are excited about possibilities 2021 holds. Rest assured, Ketner Group NYC is alive and well.