Bloom or bust: One industry’s struggle with coronavirus

Bloom or bust: One industry’s struggle with coronavirus

Challenges for florists similar to other small businesses nationwide

The new coronavirus had just barely arrived in

Sedgwick County, home to Wichita, the largest city in Kansas. Only one case was reported as of last week. But florist Jennifer Barnard felt its effects all the same.

The lifeblood of the flower industry dried up as event after event evaporated from Barnard’s calendar. State governments shrunk the number of people allowed to congregate. Schools canceled proms. Couples delayed their weddings. Businesses with regular flower orders shuttered.

Supply chain issues plagued Barnard as well. Her flowers come from all over the world, from the Netherlands to Ecuador to California. But breaks in the chain mean flowers are no longer arriving.

The flower industry is only one of many across the country facing daunting prospects as the American and world economies stagnate because of the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Even in areas that haven’t seen many cases of COVID-19, measures to curtail the virus taken in other places touch communities of every size and geography.

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