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
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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.
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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.
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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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