HOW SOME COMPANIES SURVIVE, EVEN THRIVE, IN VIRAL CRISIS

AppleMagazine|May 01, 2020

HOW SOME COMPANIES SURVIVE, EVEN THRIVE, IN VIRAL CRISIS
When the coronavirus struck the United States hard last month, 22-year-old entrepreneur David Zamarin knew his company needed a Plan B — fast. As the economy essentially shut down, demand for his stain-resistant coatings was sure to drop.

So Zamarin decided to retool his company, DetraPel, in Framingham, Massachusetts, to start making disinfectants to help fight the virus’s spread. Within weeks, “we completely changed our whole system.” Sales of the DetraPel ecoCleaner & Disinfectant have been strong, he said, and Zamarin expects to produce the cleaner even after the health crisis has passed.

“I don’t want this to be a one-time thing,” he said. “I don’t want to capitalize on this to make short term money.’’

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an epic catastrophe for American business. Economic life is all but frozen. Stores are idle. Sales have sunk as people isolate at home, slash spending on autos and appliances and halt shopping trips, restaurant meals and movie outings.

Many iconic retailers are reeling. Gap warns it may run out of cash. Neiman Marcus and J.C. Penney could be headed for bankruptcy protection.

Yet by dint of circumstance, resourcefulness or just plain luck, some companies have positioned themselves to withstand, even thrive, in the crisis. The most fortunate work in sectors mostly shielded from damage, like pharmacies. Or they can capitalize on the quirks of the times — a spike in demand for groceries, pizza delivery, movie streaming, online packages and cleaning products.

Some companies were prudent enough to have built financial cushions or credit lines to access cash. And then there are nimble ones like DetraPel that somehow find opportunity in the chaos.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime — we hope — event,” said Andrew Corbett of Babson College’s Butler Institute for Free Enterprise through Entrepreneurship. “The people who are used to dealing with ambiguity and trying new things — they’re going to embrace this and run with it.’’

articleRead

You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD

Log in, if you are already a subscriber

GoldLogo

Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories and 5,000+ magazines

READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE

May 01, 2020