COVID-19

This flower company survived Mother’s Day, but the future remains uncertain

Kai Ryssdal and Maria Hollenhorst May 11, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
HTML EMBED:
COPY
For companies like Farmgirl Flowers, the second weekend in May is one of the most important of the year. Boris Horvat/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

This flower company survived Mother’s Day, but the future remains uncertain

Kai Ryssdal and Maria Hollenhorst May 11, 2020
For companies like Farmgirl Flowers, the second weekend in May is one of the most important of the year. Boris Horvat/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

For companies in the flower business, Mother’s Day is essential.

This year, Christina Stembel, CEO and founder of the direct-to-consumer bouquet company Farmgirl Flowers, had to scramble to set up new distribution centers after San Francisco’s shelter-in-place order forced the company to close down its main facility. 

“There were a lot of unknowns,” she told Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal. “But it all went well, and all the planes took off, and all the trucks left, and delivered thousands and thousands of bouquets to happy moms.”

Stembel said she’s hoping a strong Mother’s Day will carry Farmgirl Flowers through the slow summer months into fall, when sales typically rebound. “However … if there’s a recession on the horizon, we’re all just going to be at the mercy of what that looks like,” she said. 

After missing out on a Paycheck Protection Program loan in the first round of funding, Stembel kept applying. “I spent hundreds of hours applying, and one of them came through,” she said. “This is the thing that might be able to take us through if the economy does decline considerably.”

Click the audio player above to hear the interview.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

What’s going to happen to retailers, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching?

A report out recently from the accounting consultancy BDO USA said 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy protection through August. And if bankruptcies continue at that pace, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010, after the Great Recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they look for some hope around the holidays.

Read More

Collapse

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.