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Photo: Axios Events.

A shift towards digital operations and delivery can help small businesses stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, Cupcakin' Bake Shop owner Lila Owens at an Axios virtual event on Thursday.

What she's saying: Owens said she faced a decline in walk-in sales at her Berkeley, California, store and an onslaught of pre-paid order cancellations at the start of the pandemic. "People wanted refunds. So, not only did we have a decrease in the money coming in, but the money we had already collected we had to return."

  • Moving towards online operation and delivery options held her crumbling cupcake business together.
  • "We instantly implemented a same-day delivery service, which we had never done in the history of our business ... we used Instagram and Facebook as a tool for that ... we got a huge response," she said.

Go deeper

Amazon orders more than 1,800 new electric delivery vans

Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Amazon announced Friday it will add more than 1,800 battery-powered Mercedes-Benz vans in Europe this year, continuing its push toward electrification of its delivery fleet.

The big picture: Amazon is shipping more of its own products, relying less on major carriers, and the Mercedes purchase makes it clear the giant online retailer favors vehicles that will help remove greenhouse gases from its delivery fleet.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

2 hours ago - World

Australian PM pledges $700M for climate change-threatened Great Barrier reef

A green sea turtle is flourishing among the corals at Lady Elliot island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday a AU$1 billion ($703 million) investment plan for the Great Barrier Reef.

Why it matters: The nine-year plan for projects including water quality improvement, reef conservation and supporting some 64,000 tourism jobs comes months ahead of this year's federal election. It has been criticized by scientists and environmental groups for failing to tackle climate change.