This office furniture business is “kinda like a catfish”
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“My Economy” tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.
For those in the business of buying and selling used office furniture, the interconnected trends of companies downsizing and workers setting up permanent home offices presents an opportunity.
“In any downturn like this, there’s opportunity to pick up deals,” said Wayne Hogan of Galaxy Office Furniture in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
He and his wife Lynda began selling furniture out of their garage back in 1982. “Ever since then, there’s times when the business has kept the marriage going and times when the marriage partnership has kept the business going,” he said.
From their storefront in the Argenta Arts District of North Little Rock, Hogan said he can see consumer preferences change along with the economy.
“Whenever business is good, we’re selling a lot of new office furniture,” he said. “When the economy is slow, they get a little more frugal.”
On the selling side, Hogan said there’s high demand right now for small desks as people carve out spaces to work and learn from home. “[Customers are] looking for smaller desks to replace that kitchen table office,” he said. “You’re not going to sell them a 6-foot desk.”
On the buying side, Hogan said there’s a lot of used office furniture available as companies downsize or close physical offices permanently.
“That part of our business is kind of like a catfish,” he said. “We just kind of pick up what’s on the bottom and keep everything stirred up.”
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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.
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