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COVID-19

In London’s lockdown, a small honey retailer navigates online sales

Kai Ryssdal and Bennett Purser Apr 29, 2020
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From Field and Flower's honey products. Janet Nguyen/Marketplace
COVID-19

In London’s lockdown, a small honey retailer navigates online sales

Kai Ryssdal and Bennett Purser Apr 29, 2020
From Field and Flower's honey products. Janet Nguyen/Marketplace
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Home to fresh and artisan foods, Borough Market is one of London’s oldest food destinations. Typically bustling with shoppers, the market’s essential grocers are open even as the United Kingdom remains under lockdown to stem the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

The “Marketplace” team visited Borough Market last year while reporting on the economic concerns of Brexit. That’s when we met Samantha Wallace, owner of From Field and Flower, a specialty shop that sells a variety of international honey products. Wallace has decided to close the small shop, focusing on online sales. We asked her about managing a business during the global pandemic and her thoughts on the future of retail.

Samantha Wallace with her husband, Stefano Troiani. (Courtesy of Samantha Wallace)

“Generally speaking, there is a big hole in our turnover, sadly, so we’re losing quite a lot of money,” Wallace said. “But effectively, the bit of money we’re getting helps moral, helps us feel positive and also helps us continue to pay our staff while they’re on lockdown.”

Click the audio player above to hear the interview.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the outlook for vaccine supply?

Chief executives of America’s COVID-19 vaccine makers promised in congressional testimony to deliver the doses promised to the U.S. government by summer. The projections of confidence come after months of supply chain challenges and companies falling short of year-end projections for 2020. What changed? In part, drugmakers that normally compete are now actually helping one another. This has helped solve several supply chain issues, but not all of them.

How has the pandemic changed scientific research?

Over the past year, while some scientists turned their attention to COVID-19 and creating vaccines to fight it, most others had to pause their research — and re-imagine how to do it. Social distancing, limited lab capacity — “It’s less fun, I have to say. Like, for me the big part of the science is discussing the science with other people, getting excited about projects,” said Isabella Rauch, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Funding is also a big question for many.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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