Coronavirus outbreak starting to impact businesses in differing ways

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, businesses are starting to see the side effect on the economy.

If you're thinking about buying a home, now might be the time to get into the market. If you're shopping for a wedding dress or a prom dress, your situation may have been better a few weeks ago.

Nancy Blum, longtime owner of Parrot-Fa-Nalia in Wichita is busy this time of year helping teens prepare for prom. Her work goes on, but there's something different from previous years.

In 50 years, she says she's "never experienced anything like this before."

The coronavirus has been making it more difficult at Blum's boutique because few dresses have been leaving manufacturers in China.

"It was starting because of the Chinese New Year and we already knew that they were closed up for a certain amount of time, but they never reopened because they all got quarantined," she says.

Blum says it's not just dressmakers impacting her business due to the coronavirus outbreak overseas. There are also closed factories that normally produce zippers, buttons, and beads. The closures interrupt the supply chain.

"Kind of like at Spirit (AeroSystems) when they didn't get their parts for their planes, they have to call a halt," she says.

Blum says most of Parrot-Fa-Nalia's customers won't be impacted.

"We have a great stock, so don't worry. We're not going to run out of dresses at any point and time, trust me," Blum says.

She says shoppers wanting special-order dresses may have a longer wait.

An economic flip side concerning the coronavirus is that as stocks tumbled earlier this week so did mortgage rates. This could make it a good time to enter the home-buying market.

"It's interesting to see if this is going to be enough of a drop to really push people to move off the fence, or will they just go ahead and still wait," says J.P. Weigand Residential Real Estate Agent Alissa Unruh.

As of Wednesday, 30-year-fixed-rates have fallen as low as 3.33 percent, down as much as a quarter of a percent from last week. This could also be a good time for homeowners looking to refinance.

"Quarter percent to half a percent makes a huge difference in your monthly house payment," Unruh says.

Unruh says she's also seen in recent weeks, more people interested in selling homes.

While different businesses are experiencing differing impacts from the coronavirus, those who spoke with Eyewitness News Wednesday share the hope for an end to the outbreak.