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Flower Power

Jim Boxberger - Correspondent
Posted 5/22/20

Well Memorial Day Weekend is upon us and normally we in the garden center business would be gearing up for the busiest weekend of the year, but not this year. This year with so many people at home, …

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Flower Power

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Well Memorial Day Weekend is upon us and normally we in the garden center business would be gearing up for the busiest weekend of the year, but not this year. This year with so many people at home, they can go shopping for plants and gardening supplies anytime, not just on the weekends.

This has made it a little tricky trying to get deliveries in, scheduling staff and water plants without watering people. Normally, we would water for a couple hours in the morning when the store would be quiet. We would schedule more staff for the end of the week and weekends when the store would be busiest and deliveries would normally come in on Fridays.

But this year with everyone stuck at home and wanting to either do some landscaping or gardening, everyday is like a Saturday. Deliveries are the hardest to schedule for both us and our supplies as unlike hard-goods suppliers like True Value that we get every week on a specific day, live goods deliveries normally come sometime mid to late week.

Growers send out an availability list on Monday and garden centers place orders on Tuesday and Wednesday for deliveries on Thursday and Friday, to be stocked up again for the weekend. Normally this model works, but this year is anything but normal. Demand for plants this year has broken the model. We have been trying to get deliveries in much earlier in the week to restock empty shelves in our greenhouses, but now the growers are running out of stock.

When it comes to plants you just can't get them to grow overnight. Quick germinating vegetables like peas, beans, corn, cucumbers, squash and melons can be planted and be ready for sale in seven days, but tomatoes and peppers need almost a month and that would take far too long this late in the season. And it really isn't late in the season yet, it's only Memorial Day Weekend. My grandfather never planted his garden until after Memorial Day Weekend to avoid the risk of frost.

But this year it seems that with all the extra time on customers' hands they want to get gardening early. As for us we are just happy that we can provide a service for people that have been dealing with staying at home, trying to teach their kids, trying to make ends meet or like us, essential workers that have been making sure things run on time.

Like the grocery stores eight weeks ago, we are now finding that our shelves are bare from time to time. But we too will soon be restocked so that everyone can start a victory garden this year. After all we have been through, now more than ever do we need the healing power of mother nature. Flower power is not just a hippie thing anymore.

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