Reynolds Weekly: July 1, 2019

by July 1, 2019

Old cars, taco hotel and corporate boycotts. We’ve complied some business stories to help you get started in your local coverage. (Image credit to picjumbo via Pexels)
The rising age of American cars

Cars and light trucks on American roads are getting older and older, rising to an all time high of 11.8 years old. A lot of it has to do with rising costs associated with purchasing and maintaining vehicles, but also because vehicle manufacturers are building longer lasting vehicles.

How to start your reporting:

Third party repair shops stand to benefit from ageing vehicles which could need simple tune ups or significant maintenance. See what your local car repair shops have to say about business. Since vehicle prices are squeezing a certain percentage of Americans out of the new car market, second hand dealerships may also be experiencing a boom.

Taco Bell hotel

Taco Bell super fans now have the chance to stay in a hotel dedicated to their favorite Mexican-inspired fast food chain. The “pop-up hotel”, which will only be in operation for four days in Palm Springs, sold out all 70 rooms in 2 minutes. 

Pop-up shops are temporary retail experiences which typically serve niche markets, and were popularized in large cities like Los Angeles starting in the early aughts. Pop-up experiences have since become so widespread, entire businesses have formed connecting landlords to temporary pop-up renters. Businesses have also sprung up offering products like pop-up trailers

How to start your reporting:

If you live in a city, chances are pop-up shops are a part of the business ecosystem. To track the effect of pop-up shops on the local economy, talk to those who run these shops. Are they a local business or do they pop-up around the country? The Taco Bell hotel drew customers from around the world, so you could find out if pop-ups in your area are drivers of tourism. Speaking with landlords who temporarily rent out their spaces could be interesting. Find out if it’s been more or less lucrative than traditional, long- term leasing.

Wayfair walkouts

E-commerce furniture company, Wayfair Inc, previously know for their relentless advertising on HGTV, is now in the headlines for a different reason. The company’s business relationship with a private operator of migrant detention centers prompted employee walkouts at their Boston headquarters last week and calls for a boycott of the furniture brand.

The company sold $200,000 worth of “bedroom furniture” to BCFS, a nonprofit which operates child migrant detention centers in Texas. Wayfair CEOs have been quiet amid the controversy, but have promised to donate $100,000 to the American Red Cross to aid in the border crisis.

How to start your reporting:

In the age of Trump, brand boycotts have become commonplace. An interesting story might come of an analysis of social movements boycott of businesses. Will #WayfairWalkout peter out sooner rather than later, or could it be a sustained drain on Wayfair’s popularity? Also, if Wayfair bends to protests and stops selling to detention center operators, what furniture company will take their place?