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Thanks for your continued support of the Madison Business Review, a student-led, business-focused publication serving the JMU and Harrisonburg communities.

It’s been an unforgettable year, and many think it can’t end soon enough. But before the year comes to a close, here are the Madison Business Review’s most-read stories of 2020.


20: Rebound brewing: Harrisonburg cafes stir up sales, survive (776 views since Nov. 30)

Harrisonburg coffee shops saw sudden sales drops as the pandemic redefined normal, but some are coming back stronger than ever. The Madison Business Review spoke with four cafe owners to hear how business has been after a horrific spring and a dull summer. Here are their stories.

Rebound brewing: Harrisonburg cafes stir up sales, survive

19: Short squeeze: The game theory of a billion-dollar bet (809 views since June 9)

This fascinating, insightful look into the logic, strategy, emotion and luck behind short trading gives investors a better understanding why some stocks soar and others suffer.

Short squeeze: The game theory of a billion-dollar bet

18: America has a student debt problem. This may be a solution. (821 views since Aug. 19)

Millions of students owe trillions in student debt, and there are few clear solutions. Could achievement-based low-interest loans move the needle?

America has a student debt problem. This may be a solution.

17: Hartman Hall is home for CoB. Here’s how the deal happened. (1,146 views since Oct. 20)

JMU secured its largest private cash donation ever as its College of Business found donors to sponsor the name for its newly unveiled academic building by Newman Lake. Here's an inside look at how the deal happened.

Hartman Hall is home for CoB. Here’s how the deal happened.

16: Life after football: Harrisonburg businesses seek survival (1,165 views since Aug. 24)

Harrisonburg businesses crippled by the pandemic got hit with another gut punch: no JMU fall football. Four businesses told the Madison Business Review how they're planning on making it through.

Life after football: Harrisonburg businesses seek survival

15: The future of work: Skip college, thank yourself later (1,191 views since Sept. 7)

College isn't for everyone. Teachers and parents who pretend like it is can hurt students and put them in unnecessary long-term debt. Here's why skipping college may be the best investment a young person can make.

The future of work: Skip college, thank yourself later

14: Trump vs. Biden: Whose economic policies make more sense? (1,245 views since Nov. 3)

Here's a final look at the proposed economic policies of Republican incumbent Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden and which plan would be better for America.

Trump vs. Biden: Whose economic policies make more sense?

13: Analysis: COVID-19, your drive and what’s driving gas prices (1,371 views since Apr. 1)

Gas prices are plummeting to multi-decade lows across the country in the midst of the COVID-19 breakout. The Madison Business Review's Christian Lebegue explains why.

Analysis: COVID-19, your drive and what’s driving gas prices

12: COVID-19 delays JMU construction, but ambitious expansion ahead (1,434 views since Dec. 7)

JMU postponed several construction projects after the university's revenue dropped during the pandemic. The Madison Business Review learned what projects are on hold and what's still to come for JMU.

COVID-19 delays JMU construction, but ambitious expansion ahead

11: Starships were meant to fly: Robots take off with JMU Dining (1,552 views since Oct. 26)

Starship food-delivery robots landed at JMU at the right time. JMU Dining told the Madison Business Review how popular the service has been while sharing how it made decisions when JMU sent students home during the pandemic.

Starships were meant to fly: Robots take off with JMU Dining

10: What are the next steps in the US-China trade war? (1,602 views since Apr. 24)

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President Trump made reshaping trade with China a top priority for his administration. Then, a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic redefined normal. What's next in trade talks between the U.S. and China?

What are the next steps in the US-China trade war?

9: In the weeds: Harrisonburg hemp store pushes past pandemic (1,710 views since Nov. 2)

COVID-19 has weeded out many businesses, but that hasn’t stopped a Waynesboro-based hemp supplier from rolling out a location in downtown Harrisonburg.

In the weeds: Harrisonburg hemp store pushes past pandemic

8: The Green New Deal’s true cost: Not the end of the world? (1,940 views since Oct. 7)

Combating climate change through the Green New Deal is a massive economic risk given its exorbitant cost, but Senator Bernie Sanders thinks it would pay for itself. Can the U.S. afford to tackle climate change, or can it not afford not to?

The Green New Deal’s true cost: Not the end of the world?

7: Mr. J’s walks tightrope of appeasing virus fears, pleasing (2,601 views since Oct. 12)

Bagels weren’t always at the forefront of people’s minds as COVID-19 hit Harrisonburg, but Mr. J's Bagels & Deli found ways to keep making bread.

Mr. J’s walks tightrope of appeasing virus fears, pleasing

6: Jack Brown's, Billy Jack's go ‘Next Door’ as virus spreads (3,432 views since Nov. 23)

Jack Brown’s and Billy Jack’s have a bit more breathing room in the social distancing era, thanks to a new dining space between the two restaurants that was previously home to a T-shirt shop. The Madison Business Review checked in with the eateries to hear how business has been amid the pandemic.

Jack Brown's, Billy Jack's go ‘Next Door’ as virus spreads

5: JMU's finance program named to top 25, best in Virginia (3,663 views since Apr. 6)

A recent ranking of top colleges for undergraduate finance degrees put JMU's program near the top, which is a strong look ahead of the College of Business's renovation launch in fall 2020.

JMU's finance program named to top 25, best in Virginia

4: Denny’s fast-casual concept’s JMU launch a grand slam (3,775 views since Aug. 31)

All-day breakfast has arrived at JMU thanks to The Den, a fast-casual concept from Denny's. JMU Dining hopes it'll entice upperclassmen to buy meal plans, while Denny's is banking on it building brand loyalty with students.

Denny’s fast-casual concept’s JMU launch a grand slam

3: JMU eighth in state in Wall Street Journal’s college ranking (7,351 views since Sept. 20)

Here's where JMU ranks nationally and in the state, according to The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education.

JMU's finance program named to top 25, best in Virginia

2: More than dinner: Lobsters may lead to a COVID-19 treatment (12,194 views since Aug. 17)

In the frantic race for a COVID-19 cure, scientists are leaving no stone unturned — even those underwater. Lobsters could contain a treatment, a Maine-based researcher and professor believes.

More than dinner: Lobsters may lead to a COVID-19 treatment

1: Uber vs Lyft: Which will pull away in the ridesharing space? (27,745 views since April 13)

Uber and Lyft are fierce competitors in the ride-sharing space with many similarities but different business models. Which is a better long-term investment?

Uber vs Lyft: Which will pull away in the ridesharing space?

Thank you again for reading and supporting student journalism. Happy New Year!

James Faris is a senior media arts and design major. Contact James at breezembr@gmail.com.