July 3, 2020

The Long, Unhappy History of Working From Home

Quora said 60 percent of its workers expressed a preference for remote work, in line with national surveys. In a Morning Consult survey in late May on behalf of Prudential, 54 percent said they wanted to work remotely. In a warning sign for managers, the same percentage of remote workers said they felt less connected to their company.

One very public setback for remote work was at Best Buy, the Minneapolis-based electronics retailer. The original program, which drew national attention, began in 2004. It aimed to judge employees by what they accomplished, not the hours a project took or the location where it was done.

Best Buy killed the program in 2013, saying it gave the employees too much freedom. “Anyone who has led a team knows that delegation is not always the most effective leadership style,” the chief executive, Hubert Joly, said at the time.

Jody Thompson, a co-founder of the program who left Best Buy in 2007 to become a consultant, said the company was doing poorly and panicked. “It went back to a philosophy of ‘If I can see people, that means they must be working,’” she said.

The coronavirus shutdown, which means 95 percent of Best Buy’s corporate campus workers are currently remote, might now be prompting another shift in company philosophy. “We expect to continue on a permanent basis some form of flexible work options,” a spokeswoman said.

Flexible work gives employees more freedom with their schedules but does not fundamentally change how they are managed, which was Ms. Thompson’s goal. “This is a moment when working can change for the better,” she said. “We need to create a different kind of work culture, where everyone is 100 percent accountable and 100 percent autonomous. Just manage the work, not the people.”

But it is also a moment, she acknowledged, when working can change for the worse.

“It’s a crazy time,” Ms. Thompson said. “When you’re a manager, there is a temptation to manage someone harder if you can’t see them. There’s an increase in managers looking at spyware.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/29/technology/working-from-home-failure.html

Small Businesses Repurpose Lessons From the 2008 Recession

Like Levain Bakery, and its early e-commerce focus, Singapore-based Aqua Expeditions’ initial bet on technology helped steady operations during both the Great Recession and today. Rather than build costly reservations and management platforms when it launched in 2008, “we outsourced most of these technology needs to cloud-based services,” said Francesco Galli Zugaro, founder and chief executive of Aqua, which operates small-scale luxury cruises in Peru, Cambodia and Indonesia.

  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated June 24, 2020

    • Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?

      A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.

    • I’ve heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Does it work?

      The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

    • What is pandemic paid leave?

      The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.

    • Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?

      So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • How does blood type influence coronavirus?

      A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.


Opting for cloud services was an unusual move back then. “Smaller-sized companies typically created their own systems, but we realized we could benefit from all that technological R.D. as it came online,” Mr. Galli Zugaro said. “Today, cloud services are allowing our entire business to run remotely with automated mechanisms in place to clearly measure company performance and employee productivity.”

Of course, for most small businesses, managing — and, particularly, cutting — costs ultimately proves to be the most effective recession survival strategies. Leon Avigad, founder and co-owner of the Israeli boutique hotel chain Brown Hotels Ltd., said that when his firm started in 2008, costly staffing setups like numerous assistants and unnecessary deputies were simply not an option.

“We’ve never had ‘No. 2s’ or multiple managers at the company,” Mr. Avigad said. “Israel is the kind of place where every two years there’s a political crisis or mini-war, so beyond recessions or corona, businesses here must retain the ability to shrink or grow rapidly.”

Still, Mr. Avigad added that this did not necessarily mean simply hiring and firing at will. “Costs must be contained as cleverly as possible; for us this can mean combining jobs — perhaps having the front-desk manager also become a reservations manager.”

For Vivek Mathur, creative director and president of Indika Entertainment Advertising in Manhattan, cost management meant “replacing a culture of excess with a culture of thrift,” during the last downturn — a move which is helping to keep his company lean today.

Indika closed its Los Angeles office in late 2008, “because it involved not just the office itself, but also the cost of the travel, the cars, the digital connections between the offices in a pre-broadband world,” said Mr. Mathur, whose firm develops advertising and strategic marketing campaigns for movie studios, television channels and digital platforms. Indika’s New York office was also downsized, and unnecessary recurring expenses — multiple phone lines, special stationery, water delivery services — were eliminated.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/23/business/coronavirus-great-recession-2008-lessons.html

Repurposing Lessons From the 2008 Recession

Like Levain Bakery, and its early e-commerce focus, Singapore-based Aqua Expeditions’ initial bet on technology helped steady operations during both the Great Recession and today. Rather than build costly reservations and management platforms when it launched in 2008, “we outsourced most of these technology needs to cloud-based services,” said Francesco Galli Zugaro, founder and chief executive of Aqua, which operates small-scale luxury cruises in Peru, Cambodia and Indonesia.

  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated June 22, 2020

    • Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?

      A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.

    • I’ve heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Does it work?

      The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

    • What is pandemic paid leave?

      The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.

    • Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?

      So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • How does blood type influence coronavirus?

      A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.

    • My state is reopening. Is it safe to go out?

      States are reopening bit by bit. This means that more public spaces are available for use and more and more businesses are being allowed to open again. The federal government is largely leaving the decision up to states, and some state leaders are leaving the decision up to local authorities. Even if you aren’t being told to stay at home, it’s still a good idea to limit trips outside and your interaction with other people.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.


Opting for cloud services was an unusual move back then. “Smaller-sized companies typically created their own systems, but we realized we could benefit from all that technological R.D. as it came online,” Mr. Galli Zugaro said. “Today, cloud services are allowing our entire business to run remotely with automated mechanisms in place to clearly measure company performance and employee productivity.”

Of course, for most small businesses, managing — and, particularly, cutting — costs ultimately proves to be the most effective recession survival strategies. Leon Avigad, founder and co-owner of the Israeli boutique hotel chain Brown Hotels Ltd., said that when his firm started in 2008, costly staffing setups like numerous assistants and unnecessary deputies were simply not an option.

“We’ve never had ‘No. 2s’ or multiple managers at the company,” Mr. Avigad said. “Israel is the kind of place where every two years there’s a political crisis or mini-war, so beyond recessions or corona, businesses here must retain the ability to shrink or grow rapidly.”

Still, Mr. Avigad added that this did not necessarily mean simply hiring and firing at will. “Costs must be contained as cleverly as possible; for us this can mean combining jobs — perhaps having the front-desk manager also become a reservations manager.”

For Vivek Mathur, creative director and president of Indika Entertainment Advertising in Manhattan, cost management meant “replacing a culture of excess with a culture of thrift,” during the last downturn — a move which is helping to keep his company lean today.

Indika closed its Los Angeles office in late 2008, “because it involved not just the office itself, but also the cost of the travel, the cars, the digital connections between the offices in a pre-broadband world,” said Mr. Mathur, whose firm develops advertising and strategic marketing campaigns for movie studios, television channels and digital platforms. Indika’s New York office was also downsized, and unnecessary recurring expenses — multiple phone lines, special stationery, water delivery services — were eliminated.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/23/business/coronavirus-great-recession-2008-lessons.html

Square, Jack Dorsey’s Pay Service, Is Withholding Money Merchants Say They Need

Last month, when Square disclosed its financial results, it said it had swung to a $106 million loss for the quarter and reported that it was increasing the cash it had on hand by 290 percent to hedge against future losses.

But many businesses whose money has been withheld said it was unfair for them to contribute to Square’s financial cushion when they had shown no signs of being an increased risk.

Sean Weber, the owner of Legal Knock, a company near Los Angeles that builds websites for law firms, provided documents showing that he had used Square for two years and never had a customer ask for money back. Yet Square began withholding money from him in May, totaling around $4,000, he said.

  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated June 22, 2020

    • Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?

      A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.

    • I’ve heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Does it work?

      The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

    • What is pandemic paid leave?

      The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.

    • Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?

      So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • How does blood type influence coronavirus?

      A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.

    • My state is reopening. Is it safe to go out?

      States are reopening bit by bit. This means that more public spaces are available for use and more and more businesses are being allowed to open again. The federal government is largely leaving the decision up to states, and some state leaders are leaving the decision up to local authorities. Even if you aren’t being told to stay at home, it’s still a good idea to limit trips outside and your interaction with other people.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.


Mr. Weber said the only warning he had gotten was an email right before the first deductions, with little explanation. When he called Square to ask what he had done wrong, he initially had trouble getting through. The company later told him that it was a general policy imposed as a result of the risks caused by the pandemic.

“I told him: ‘That’s not my problem. Why do I have to bear the burden of that?’” Mr. Weber said he had responded. He was told there was no appeals process or method for getting the money released, he added.

Mr. Weber said he had since had to miss the $3,000 monthly mortgage payment on his home while looking for a new payment processor. When he complained about Square’s policy on Twitter, the company blocked him, something it has also done to other customers who have publicly brought up the issue.

Nikol de Riso, the owner of EGA Solutions in Palmetto, Fla., said she could not get a response from Square for two weeks about the money it had held from her business, which provides various legal and practical services for small businesses. When she finally got someone on the phone, she said, she was told that the withholding was a general policy and not a result of any risks in her business.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/23/technology/square-jack-dorsey-pandemic-withholding.html

A Long Night of ‘Flower Flashing’ With Lewis Miller

Irini Arakas Greenbaum, whose job includes scouting locations for Mr. Miller (“I’m always on the hunt for the Kate Moss of garbage cans,” she said), offered him a free spirit rose.

“Nah,” he said. “I’m so super pretty already.” She insisted. “OK,” he said. “I’m gonna see a homeless girl and give it to her. Spread the love!” Mr. Miller told the man to stay safe. Then he jumped into a large white van carrying some 12,000 flowers in the back.

“It’s like driving around a hundred wedding cakes,” said Manny Mejia from behind the wheel. Despite a few potholes, the daisy mums and stardust roses emerged unscathed at the second installation site, in Fort Greene. Mr. Miller zip-tied the heart onto a green C train entrance under the eye of “Comandante Biggie,” a mural of the Notorious B.I.G. flanked by white doves.

As Tawana Schlegel, a florist with the company, softened the heart’s curves with lilies placed in messy perfection, Mr. Miller noticed a Cellino Barnes ad above the subway entrance. “Is that even a real phone number?” he asked no one in particular about all those eights, while sweeping up fallen petals and a bonus used Q-tip. Before bolting he grabbed a mister of Crowning Glory from the van to give the arrangement a spritz, because like so many New Yorkers, lilies need extra hydration.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/20/style/lewis-miller-florist-nyc.html

In N.Y.C., Bars Are Open on the Sidewalk

But as the crowds grow, proper social distancing is not always possible. Ernesto’s Café, on the Lower East Side, encourages customers to use the park across the street. Patrons of Grand Army, in Brooklyn, have been using closed-off State Street as a patio. And the Factory 380 will send customers on an around-the-block “walktail” stroll. By the time they make the circuit, they’re ready for another round.

Observing safety guidelines while not alienating customers can be tricky. “You ask them to move, they’ll move,” said John Hayes, the owner of Doc Watson’s, on the Upper East Side. “But they’re not going to disappear. You don’t want the last thing they remember is you chased them away.”

For bars, whose business models have turned upside-down since the shutdown began, adjust and adapt is the name of the game. Basquiat’s Bottle, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, was an art- and nightlife-oriented place before Covid-19, going into the wee hours. It’s now open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and has had increased food sales.

Before the shutdown, Harlem Hops sold two to three crowlers a week (a crowler is like a growler, but in jumbo-can format). Now it sells 30 to 35 a day.

Just as bar owners are figuring out the new landscape as they go, the people they serve have discovered new advantages to the arrangement.

“During this time of year, sometimes I prefer an outside bar or rooftop, or a place by the water,” said Robert Cabo, 29, an architect and a regular at the Factory 380. “Now, because this is happening, I have no reason not to come here.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/16/dining/drinks/outdoor-bars-nyc-coronavirus.html

A Barware Company for the Pros Adds Amateurs to the Mix

Some, it turned out, were bartenders, who were focusing on social media while out of work. Mr. Boehm said the company sent gifts to influencers and received enthusiastic responses from many, some of whom wanted to promote the barware to their viewers.

That helped bring in sales and raise morale because by then, many of Cocktail Kingdom’s workers had to take a pay cut.

The company also began designing and selling T-shirts on its website to benefit the bars the company works with; the T-shirt sales raised $26,000 for the bar workers. Word about the T-shirts went out on the company’s email list, Mr. Boehm said, which has almost 70,000 names, and the bars’ social media sites, driving traffic to Cocktail Kingdom’s website.

He also noticed that a five-piece cocktail set, which sells for $99 to $159, became the company’s best seller. Sales for the set skyrocketed in April and May.

More plans are in the works. Mr. Boehm hopes to partner with local wine bars and liquor stores to present Zoom classes teaching people about spirits and cocktail-making, which would, of course, feature barware from Cocktail Kingdom.

“We’re thinking what we can do to create an experience at home,” he said.

Mr. Boehm owns five cocktail bars in the East Village and West Village, a Manhattan showroom, and the Miracle franchise of Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bars around the world.

When the bars or festival will be running again is anyone’s guess, he said. But web sales continue to do well — just 16 percent down from the same time last year, but with 80 percent to the consumer market. All staff members are back up to 100 percent pay and no one has been laid off.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/12/business/cocktail-kingdom-barware-pandemic.html

One Bar. Twelve Weeks. Seventeen Lives in Lockdown.

Mr. Kachingwe, 40, was used to risks. His childhood took him from Chegutu, a village in Zimbabwe without electricity, to Coralville, Iowa, where his stepfather had gotten a job as a professor when he was 10. Fifteen years later, he moved to San Francisco and ended up managing a popular Senegalese spot known for its dance floor. (The owner promoted him because he didn’t drink.) Eventually he thought owning his own place would give him more time to play guitar and write screenplays (wrong), so he looked to Oakland.

“The first goal was completely selfish,” he said. “And then immediately, you realize it has nothing to do with you.”

The Hatch grew into a community hub. The narrow two-story bar, jacketed in reclaimed fence boards and local art, became a hangout for the city’s artists, musicians and writers, as well as waiters, bartenders and baristas. Upstairs were free comedy and rap shows, and Mr. Kachingwe hung a bedsheet to project obscure movies. The success helped drive sales from about $250,000 in its first year to more than $700,000 in 2019.

Now — on March 17, a Tuesday — Mr. Kachingwe and Ms. Easterbrook were packing up the booze and boarding up the windows. On top of the $8,800 in rent, an advertising contract with Yelp was $1,000 a month. The point-of-sale system was $284. Cable and internet, $180. The alarm system, $165. Ms. Easterbrook poured a beer and then remembered that the six tapped kegs would also soon go flat — another $1,200. “We’re about to find out what we can and can’t pay for,” Mr. Kachingwe said.

Within days, he had a creative plan for survival: Use the Hatch’s tiny kitchen to cater meals for a government operations hub a few miles away. He had already met with city officials.

“We have a saying that closed mouths don’t get fed,” he said. “My main goal is just trying to figure out how we can possibly, one, survive, and two, get people anything in their pockets.”

A few days later, Mr. Kachingwe said the catering idea was looking unlikely. But he had a new plan: The Hatch would become a takeout joint. “We’re going to see what it looks like,” Mr. Kachingwe said. “Because I have no clue.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/11/business/coronavirus-california-lockdown-small-business.html

Where the Money Is for Small Businesses

Check with your mayor’s or governor’s office for resources and updates.

Governments are not the only ones helping out. Foundations, websites and other entrepreneurs have jumped in. Here are a few:

Local Chambers of Commerce are also supporting their small-business owners. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has a state-by-state guide that outlines the different loans, grants and funds that state and local governments — as well as private organizations — are offering.

Hello Alice, a platform that helps entrepreneurs connect with other business owners, government resources, potential funders and mentors, is offering $10,000 grants to small businesses, supplied by Silicon Valley Bank, the eBay Foundation, UBS and other partners. The first rounds are complete, but the group will provide more rounds of funding through July 16.

The Red Backpack Fund, which is backed by Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, is donating $5,000 grants to 1,000 female entrepreneurs. The fund is accepting applications in cycles. The first started June 1; future cycles will begin on July 6 and Aug. 3.

The LISC Small Business Relief Grants program offers up to $10,000 to small businesses affected by Covid-19, especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises that don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital. The program is funded by Verizon, Sam’s Club and others. Its next application round is scheduled to open on June 11.

GoFundMe, the fund-raising platform, has started the Small Business Relief Initiative, partnering with Yelp, Intuit QuickBooks, Bill.com and GoDaddy to provide owners with grants and resources. GoFundMe, QuickBooks and Yelp have each donated $500,000 to the Small Business Relief Fund, and it is open for anyone to make a donation. There will also be $500 matching grants to qualifying businesses that raise at least $500 on GoFundMe.

IFundWomen, a crowdfunding platform, is giving microgrants to women-run businesses, issued on a rolling basis. “Start a campaign” to be considered for a Covid-19 relief grant.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/11/business/grant-loans-small-businesses.html

Saying Goodbye to the Modist

“It was life changing,” Ms. Tagouri said. “I actually really mean that.”

For Ms. Tagouri, who wears hijab, the Modist’s “effortlessly chic” styling ideas were just as important as its inventory of Valentino, Burberry and more. The images inspired her and made her feel proud.

“I had never known of a marketplace or a store where I could wear every single thing, and I didn’t have to think about layering,” she said. “I don’t think anybody will understand that unless they’ve gone through the experience of seeing themselves fully represented for the first time.”

While the Modist was one of the first companies to sell modest options from multiple luxury brands, major e-commerce retailers began adopting the same strategy around the same time, adding full-coverage categories to their websites.

There was a boom in competition for luxury modest shoppers, and the Modist raised millions in funding from investors, including Farfetch. But platforms like Net-a-Porter had more money, name recognition and brands in stock. (Today Net-a-Porter’s Modest Edit, formerly known as its Ramadan Edit, is offered beside the Summer Shop and Kidswear.)

In early April, Ms. Guenez announced the end of the Modist, writing that the economic crisis catalyzed by the coronavirus “has left our young business vulnerable with no option but to cease operating.” Customers were crushed, and so were other Muslim female business owners, who were already feeling anxious about their futures.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/03/style/coronavirus-modist.html