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New Survey Shows 75 Percent of Greater Rochester Businesses are Meeting or Surpassing their Initial 2021 Expectations

Areas of focus for businesses in 2022 will address work-life balance, attracting new customers, and increasing staffing

Rochester, NY — In its 2021 Greater Rochester Small Business Economic Climate Update, ESL Federal Credit Union found that 75 percent of small businesses in the Greater Rochester region are expecting to finish the year either meeting or surpassing their expectations for 2021.

The survey consisted of 171 businesses that ranged in size from sole proprietorship to 11 employees or more and range in sectors that include professional services, real estate, retail, manufacturing, construction, and business services. One of the key factors listed for meeting or surpassing goals is additional customers and sales due to a shift in customer behavior because of the effects of the pandemic.

“Businesses in the Greater Rochester region continue to demonstrate their resiliency and ability to adapt to changes,” said Keith Cleary, senior vice president, business banking, ESL Federal Credit Union. “This new survey shows that despite the unexpected and, at times, overwhelming challenges, our business community relied on the support of its workforce, their determination and creativity in order to meet the needs of customers. By understanding the greatest areas of focus for small businesses, institutions throughout the community, like ESL, can ensure we are providing access to the necessary resources, guidance and solutions that allow these businesses to thrive.”

A testament to Greater Rochester being a great place to do business, nearly half indicate that the quality of the people and quantity of customers in the region are what make our community a great place to do business. Other reasons cited as Greater Rochester being a great place to do business include:

  • Diverse Community
  • Knowledgeable/Skilled Labor
  • Low Cost of Living
  • Beautiful Region
  • Ease to Navigate
  • Strong/Stable Economy

Businesses that have not met their 2021 expectations cite ongoing pandemic fears and regulations, rising prices, supply chain issues, and worker shortages. According to the survey, the top three business challenges in 2021 that will be areas of focus in 2022 are:

  • Work-life balance (25%)
  • Not enough customers (23%)
  • Staffing (23%)

About ESL Federal Credit Union

With more than 100 years of locally-owned history, ESL Federal Credit Union serves as a full-service financial institution to more than 384,000 members and 13,200 businesses. Founded in 1920, the company provides personal banking, business banking, mortgage services, and wealth management services through its locally-based 23 branch network, telephone, mobile, online, and live chat center.

The Rochester-based financial institution employs approximately 900 people in the Greater Rochester area and holds more than $8.6 billion in assets. Since 1996, ESL has paid out 26 consecutive Owners’ Dividends to its members totaling more than $185 million. Since the creation of its Community Impact initiative in 2018, ESL has reinvested more than $40 million in grants throughout the community. The company has appeared on the Great Place to Work® Best Small & Medium Workplaces list for 11 years since 2010. ESL Federal Credit Union is headquartered at 225 Chestnut Street, in Rochester, and can be found online at

Find and connect with ESL on Twitter (@ESLFCU) and

For more information, contact:

Rich Pulvino, APR
Vice President/Director, Corporate Communications