There’s something that’s goin’ round, that’s shutting our borders down
It’s a bad time for our sick and our old
CNN’s nightly lullaby, tells of hundreds more that’ve died
I shut off the TV and think all alone, how long can this go on? – Jeff Orson, Pray

Welcome to In Crisis – Travel Retail Voices, our podcast series in which we speak to industry executives around the world to see how they and their businesses are coping with the COVID-19 crisis.

Today’s episode features Frederik Westelinck, Partner at Blue Storks & Co-Founder at La Boucle in Brussels, Belgium. Blue Storks is a dynamic young enterprise, founded just six years ago. It has since grown into what the company claims is the biggest travel retail agency for fashion & accessories, with listings in over 150 airports,  onboard 100 cruise ships and ferries and 135 airlines. The company’s rise and rise seemed irresistible. And then along came COVID-19.

How is Blue Storks dealing with this unprecedented calamity? Martin Moodie caught up with Frederik by phone in Belgium to see how he and the company are faring.

Blue Storks has developed a diverse global network, though Martin Moodie (below) did have to remind Frederic (via a Zoom backdrop) of a certain country called New Zealand missing from the map

Blue Storks opened its first concept store for in-house brand La Boucle at Toulouse–Blagnac Airport, France in early 2019

Previously on In Crisis – Travel Retail Voices

May 14: Christine Keeling, Long Haul Spa

May 12: Kevin Chiang, Ever Rich Duty Free

May 2: Robbie GillThe Design Solution

May 2: Michael Ripfl, Umdasch, The Store Makers

April 29: Heidi van Roon, Spark Business Services Group

April 25: Rüdiger Behn, Waldemar Behn

April 23: James Prescott, Harding Retail

April 22: Eugene Barry, Dubai Airports

April 21: Lal Arakulath, Kreol Group

April 21: Scott Collier, Toronto Pearson International Airport

April 20: Lisa Bauer, Starboard Cruise Services

April 17: Dan Cappell, Ontario International Airport

April 13: Gautom Menon, Wild Tiger Beverages

April 13: Sarah Branquinho, Duty Free World Council

April 10: Sinead el Sibai, Dubai Duty Free

April 7: Jonathan Holland of Jonathan Holland & Associates, Singapore.

April 7: Rob Wigington, Executive Director at the Airport Restaurant & Retail Association, US.

April 7: José Luis Donagaray and Inés Sisto Patron, ASUTIL

April 5:  Stewart Dryburgh, Nestlé International Travel Retail,

April 4: Pier Giuseppe Torresani, Masi; and Steve Corrigan, long-time duty free drinks executive

April 2: Founder of Duty Free Global, Barry Geoghegan

April 1: Vice President of Miami-based Essence Corp, Patricia Bona.

29 March: William Grant & Sons President Asia Pacific Doug Bagley

29 March: PMA Canada National Director – Duty Free Jeff Orson

27 March: Paul & Shark Global Travel Retail Director Catherine Bonelli

26 March: King Power Traveler President Rakhita Jayawardena

25 March: Public health expert Dr. David Heymann

24 March: King Power Group (Hong Kong) Group Chief Executive Officer Sunil Tuli

22 March: The Moodie Davitt Report Founder & Chairman Martin Moodie

21 March: China Duty Free Group President Charles Chen

20 March: Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman & CEO Colm McLoughlin