China's competitive coffee shop scene keeps owners on their toes

Jun 21, 2021
Nearly 19% of small and micro-sized businesses in China shut down during the pandemic. What does it take for a coffee shop to stay standing?
Keiichi Nakayama said his coffee shop, Rumors, was the first in Shanghai to specialize in hand-poured coffee more than a decade ago.
Charles Zhang/Marketplace

Cleaning and sanitizing as COVID theater

Jun 18, 2021
COVID spreads mostly by air, but businesses are still zealously cleaning surfaces. It’s about customer perception, one owner says.
Many businesses are still investing time and money in sanitizing for COVID-19 safety, though it may be unnecessary.
Sean Gardner via Getty Images

How a Los Angeles taqueria pivoted to survive the pandemic

Jun 17, 2021
Sonoratown’s owners have had to be nimble to protect their supply of a unique flour. They also spread out and expanded operations.
Teo Diaz and Jennifer Feltham, who own the Sonoratown taco shop, have worked through business hurdles put up by the pandemic.
Daisy Palacios/Marketplace

Why investment in Black entrepreneurs is on the rise

Jun 15, 2021
Many large companies are interested in both the cause and the financial returns, says Melissa Bradley of 1863 Ventures.
Melissa Bradley of 1863 Ventures has observed a dramatic increase in Black and brown entrepreneurship over the past year, aided by venture capital and corporate investment.
Courtesy 1863 Ventures

In London's Borough Market, importing is a "roller coaster" after Brexit

Jun 14, 2021
Britain's departure from the EU created a new trade regime for British businesses. A honey seller describes her importing experience.
Beekeepers harvesting honey. "We pay tariffs to Italy, to let our products out of Italy," says Samantha Wallace. "And then we pay a tariff to the U.K., which is quite ironic, as a U.K. business."
Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images

A few days in the life of a restaurant owner this spring

Jun 3, 2021
Business is booming — and that has brought a whole new set of challenges.
Pasta Louise has weathered the COVID-19 winter and is sticking around.
Marielle Segara/Marketplace

This northern Michigan retailer is banking on a summer with lots of foot traffic

May 14, 2021
Annie Lang Hartman, owner of Compass Paper Co., is preparing for a busy post-pandemic season.
Annie Lang Hartman's Compass Paper Co. shop. She says tourists have already come to the area, even though it's still early in the season.
Courtesy Annie Lang Hartman

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Raising prices helped this greens farmer stay afloat

May 11, 2021
Scott Snair raised his prices before the pandemic shut down travel. When things got tough, that decision helped him stay in business.
Scott Snair purchased his Hawaii produce business in late 2019, shortly before travel dropped off and his restaurant clients stopped buying.
Courtesy Scott Snair

Pledges vs. action: A consultant on the future of corporate social engagement

Apr 29, 2021
Deesha Dyer started a social impact consulting firm during COVID. She hopes companies keep their promises on racial justice.
Deesha Dyer, who worked in the Obama White House and founded the social impact consulting firm Hook & Fasten, hopes companies follow through on their racial justice initiatives.
Courtesy of Deesha Dyer

Struggling venue operators can finally seize the federal government’s lifeline

Apr 28, 2021
Applications for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant reopened on Monday after a failed launch earlier this month.
Comedian Janee Harvey performs at xBk in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 23. Proprietor Tobi Parks is one of many small business owners applying for a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.
Photo by Maggie Littel, courtesy of xBk