It’s time to get back to business

Home Columns It's time to get back to business

These last six or seven weeks have been an extraordinary period for everyone—not least of which because we are all just plain tired of this. It’s only human nature to default to the negative adjectives—scary, tragic, confusing, devastating—and the 24-hour news coverage doesn’t help much.

I hope you can focus instead on the abundant positives in our immediate world: the heroism, the compassion, the generosity and the kindness that so many have brought to strangers and loved ones alike over this dark period. I believe these behaviors have gotten us this far, and they’re what will get us to the other side of this crisis. The promise of treatments and vaccines, which are being fast-tracked in clinical trials, is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

We are now beginning to see states reopen their economies in some fashion—some more aggressively than others. That’s a good thing if only because it demonstrates we are moving in a positive direction. Complete recovery won’t happen overnight. Some flooring stores have remained open since the outbreak here in the U.S.; some that weren’t able to open will now be able to do so with certain guidelines. I am guessing many that can’t resume operations today will be able to do so by June 1—unless they are located in the remaining problematic areas.

Everyone has their own opinion on when states should reopen. I’ve tried to stay clear of this issue to avoid hate mail. On one hand, every death is a tragedy. On the other hand, how many deaths will result from keeping the economy closed? Evictions. Starvations. Suicides. Rising reports of domestic violence. Some small businesses that might never reopen, particularly restaurants. I don’t have the answer. But if people would adhere to the temporary normal—which includes social distancing, masks, limited number of people in a confined indoor space—we should move forward without overburdening our health care system.

Today I read a study by Norwell Health, which revealed nearly all New York COVID-19 patients that had been hospitalized had suffered from an underlying health issue. Of the 5,700 patients hospitalized within the Norwell system— which has housed the most patients in the country during this pandemic—94% of the patients had a disease other than COVID-19. The median age of patients was 63; 54% suffered from hypertension, 42% suffered from obesity and 32% suffered from diabetes.

Another interesting statistic, revealed through increased testing capabilities, is the high number of people who possess antibodies. That shows so many more people have had the virus, either asymptomatic or with very mild symptoms, and never knew it. That means the death rate is not 3.4% in this country; it’s more like .12% or .2%. That’s akin to the seasonal flu.

I would love for our readers to weigh in on this subject of reopening the economy in their respective states, followed by their stores. Email me at steve@fcnews.net. I’m looking to take the pulse of our readership.

Anyway, the ability to open is just the first part of the battle. Attracting consumers into the store is the Holy Grail. Look, we know consumers have still been buying flooring, unfortunately at the big boxes. I’m guessing a lot of it is DIY. We also know consumers have been sitting in their homes for the better part of two months, staring at the ugly flooring they have wanted to replace for a while. The question is, what can you do right now to entice them to buy?

A recent Google survey revealed 67% of consumers planned on spending as much or more than they normally would have when this is over. Those who were impacted financially will need a hook. Financing options seem the obvious choice. Marketing is going to play a role. What can the manufacturers do to help you? If there is something you would like us to convey to your suppliers, again, email me at steve@fcnews.net. FCNews wants to help.

We’ve all been suffering—financially, emotionally or both. Depression. Anxiety. Fear. Every day someone says to me, “This, too, shall pass.” I know it will. You know it will. As we all recover, let’s be there for each other, and let us know how we can help.

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