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Learning to adapt

Editorial | April 1, 2021 | By: Jill C. Lafferty

When the Minnesota State Fair was forced to cancel last summer, food vendors set up trucks all over the Twin Cities to make up for lost income, which my kids quickly took note of. Much begging ensued, and eventually I capitulated to bringing home a deep-fried feast.

Let me tell you—Buffalo cheese curds are delish, especially when enjoyed at my dining room table, with no sun beating down, or the
scent of livestock wafting in the air, or the sweaty bodies of a hundred
thousand of my fellow Minnesotans surrounding me. 

I’m just not a fan of eating al fresco. I blame it on Minnesota: half the year, it’s too cold; the other half, there are too many mosquitoes. But we are in an era that demands adaptation. And if the purveyors of Pronto Pups can adapt, so can I. This summer, as we get vaccinated and continue to follow local pandemic guidelines, I’m going to learn to love eating outdoors—ideally under tents.

According to Scott Sutherland, owner of tent manufacturing company Olympic Tent and this issue’s Perspective subject, businesses that had never considered renting or buying event tents have learned that their customers are enjoying an outdoor lifestyle as they social distance. While the pandemic has delivered a hard blow to the tent industry, a sense of excitement is growing for the new markets that have opened up. 

This issue is filled with trends that have been sparked or accelerated by the pandemic. Labor shortages and automated technology are nothing new, but COVID-19 pushed more companies to shift to digitization to make in-demand products with fewer people. Sustainability has been a long-term goal for numerous industry segments, including the transportation sector. But the pandemic has changed how and when we travel. How to keep up with constant change? With Part 1 in this issue, the annual Specialty Fabrics Showcase is a tool at your fingertips to help you find fabrics with the performance features you need for whatever the market is demanding. 

Eva Osborne, owner of New Holland, Pa.-based company Significant Difference LLC, an R&D consulting company, advises companies large and small to stay flexible. “Always have something in your shop that is challenging and bringing new experiences to your resources,” she says. 

Here’s to adaption. Please pass the bug spray. 

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