The Coronavirus has led to devastation in many aspects of our lives. We hear a lot of talk in the mainstream media about the dire economic situation closures of small businesses. It’s true, we are facing catastrophic times, as 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits at the end of April. But what about those businesses who are not only surviving in quarantine but thriving? It’s true, it’s easy to focus on the negatives. But these largely grassroots industries prove that a global quarantine can, in some cases, lead to booming business.
Vitamin D Supplements – They say pharma never dies, and in this case, “they” are spot on! Now that we have found ourselves with inadequate access to natural sunlight and subsequently are developing Vitamin D deficiencies, supplements that are not FDA approved (I mean is anything FDA approved these days?) are flying off the shelves and have proven a natural remedy as lying on the floor near a window in despair does not count.
Yeast – Yeast farmers and harvesters across America were worried at the outset of this pandemic, asking questions such as: what will we do with all our inevitable excess yeast? How do we turn yeast into a thriving lifestyle brand in the age of Corona? Through a mix of luck and stealthy product placement, yeast has truly become the hot-ticket grocery item of the last month as seemingly everyone is making sourdough.
Hair Cutting Scissors / Dye Kits – Amidst a general feeling of no control whatsoever in the world, people are purchasing hair dye kits and scissors in droves, making very rational and thought-out decisions about ways to dramatically alter their appearance that will definitely still hold up once they have to go out in public again. Will a half buzz cut, half shag be the new trend of the day? Or perhaps neon hair and lopsided bangs will come forth to trump them as the newest cutting-edge in fashion.
Hulu* – This one came just as we were starting to cut corners on what streaming services we paid for. Lessening our screentime and entertainment were all the rage, until quarantine allowed us to happily abandon that lost cause in favor of watching anything on Netflix that remotely interested us. Much like when the grocery store runs out of Coke and the consumer begrudgingly purchases Pepsi, When we ran out of shows to watch on Netflix, we quickly moved on to the number two.
The Puzzle Industry – Talk about an industry that you never thought would make a comeback! Avid puzzlers and puzzle historians will tell you, though, that tough times call for tough puzzles for the family to enjoy (a current report from CNBC shows that puzzle sales match the great depression!). Sales are at an all-time high as families are scraping the bottom of the barrel for activities that may not actually be fun but can simply pass time.
Family Counselors – It’s inevitable, really, that this occupation would make the list. Despite what social media makes you think, behind the scenes of home-cooked dinners and quality time spent together are increasingly regular sessions with a family counselor. Therapists these days have page after page of notes on the mundane and repetitive arguments families are having in quarantine. Among them; why do we have to spend so much time together? Why has going grocery shopping become what I look forward most to in life?. Why is Mom making us do puzzles?
Online Video Games That Hit Their Peak In 2006 – I’m looking at you, Club Penguin.
Your freelance artist friend who makes quirky-yet-topical tee shirts—Don’t forget about this friend now! You have been tearing apart Rachel’s overly artsy posts in your college group chats for years, and now look at her! She has thrived capitalizing on this pandemic by making hilarious and topical t-shirts you can buy with phrases like “mama needs a quarantini” and “pandemic! at the disco” (the former had 10,000 purchases in the last 24 hours alone). This is not a friend to unfollow just yet.
Catfishers – While not an industry, per se, the catfishing community has never thrived more than in such a time of collective relationship desperation and solitude. Women, in particular, are scrolling through Tinder and Bumble, anxious and hungry for connection. It has never been a better window for men in their fifties to pretend to be successful and in their 20s! Plus, there is the added bonus of time that can be used to cultivate a realistic and convincing personality.
*Note, we considered Hulu a small industry within the context of this article because, despite 1.2 billion in subscription fee revenue, it is still possible for the company to receive a small business loan from the federal government.