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
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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
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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

Which businesses are allowed to reopen right now? And which businesses are actually doing so?

As a patchwork of states start to reopen, businesses that fall into a gray area are wondering when they can reopen. In many places, salons are still shuttered. Bars are mostly closed, too, although restaurants may be allowed to ramp up, depending on the state. “It’s kind of all over the place,” said Elizabeth Milito of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Will you be able to go on vacation this summer?

There’s no chance that this summer will be a normal season for vacations either in the U.S. or internationally. But that doesn’t mean a trip will be impossible. People will just have to be smart about it. That could mean vacations closer to home, especially with gas prices so low. Air travel will be possible this summer, even if it is a very different experience than usual.

When does the expanded COVID-19 unemployment insurance run out?

The CARES Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in March, authorized extra unemployment payments, increasing the amount of money, and broadening who qualifies. The increased unemployment benefits have an expiration date — an extra $600 per week the act authorized ends on July 31.

You can find answers to more questions here.

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