The world is definitely navigating some uncharted waters at this time. The Covid-19 pandemic has literally stopped us all in our tracks, and tragically, taken the lives of many. We have a new vocabulary with words such as “self-quarantine” and “social distancing,” and most of us are confined to our homes and are adapting to a new way of working and homeschooling children with the assistance of modern technology. The morning I am writing this, the first drive-through testing site in New Jersey opened in Paramus, NJ, where our Stone World office is based. I have already heard some unfortunate stories about people who have lost their jobs or had hours cut back, and so many local businesses are in jeopardy due to the mandatory shutdown. While these certainly are some scary and unprecedented times, there will at some point be a light at the end of the tunnel.
This is not the first time we have weathered difficult times. Back in 1918, 500 million people worldwide were infected with the Spanish flu, which was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic. There was the Great Depression, and in more recent years, the tragic 9/11 attacks and the 2008 Recession. While all of these historical events hit people hard, in the end, people worked together to overcome them, and the same will happen with this pandemic.
Many in our industry struggled during the period of 2008-2009. But the ones who learned to adapt – maybe by finding a specific niche in the market, streamlined their operation or maintained quality production and customer service – persevered.
Staying positive and strong through hardship is important for survival. While it may prove difficult at times, just know there are many of your industry peers experiencing the same things. Unifying through this troubling stretch and talking with each other can help. Associations such as the Natural Stone Institute, Rockheads, Stone Fabricator’s Alliance and many others offer great support. And here at Stone World, we will continue to update you on the latest developments on how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting those in our industry. We are also here to listen and share your stories if you are interested.
With recently hearing the news that Coverings 2020 is cancelled and so many other exhibitions and events either following suit or postponing their dates, it feels a little like a year without a Santa Claus. But next year at this time, I’ll bet that we will all be reflecting on this terrible time while conducting business, networking and socializing at stone industry events. In the meantime, stay safe and know that you aren’t in this alone. We at Stone World are here for you. Visit our website, www.stoneworld.com, regularly for updates on rescheduled events and other industry news.