Resources for greenhouse growers, florists and retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic

There are many resources for both wholesale and garden retails on methods to hold crops and implement social distancing at garden centers.

Photo by MSU

Like most non-essential businesses in Michigan, garden centers and other retail greenhouse operations in Michigan are currently closed to the public in accordance with the Governor's “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. Although the duration of this order is yet to be determined, we know that it is only a temporary measure. Meanwhile, both wholesale and retail greenhouse growers are facing serious challenges holding their crops longer than planned. There are a number of resources that growers and retailers can reference during this challenging time.

Resources for holding crops, maintaining quality and preventing pests

Resources for garden retailers

  • Retail Garden Center and Florist Strategies to Sell in the Current Environment: Behe and Lopez shared marketing and retailing strategies for garden center retailers to conduct touchless sales in e-GRO alert 9.19. This article and webinar emphasized how retailers need to adapt their sales processes during the pandemic of COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by novel coronavirus. They also cover positive messaging to keep you, your staff and your customers going through this crisis. Download the article, view the webinarand download the handout.
  • Social Distancing Signage for your independent garden center: Garden Center Magazine published these downloadable free, ready-to-print signs from Orora Visual Horticulture. You can out and share these posters at your independent garden center, nursery or greenhouse operation to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
  • No Contact Plant Pick Up: Greenhouse growers can sign up to sell plants at their site. Aaron Allison, co-founder of SBI Software, developed No Contact Plant Pick Up, a web-based platform to support a safe, no contact sales process for retailers of live goods. Consumers will be able to access a website platform to order plants online and have their order loaded into their trunk. It is a rapid way to launch a website for those retailers with a limited online store presence.

More than ever, national and state industry associations are providing the most up-to-date information on rules and regulations around coronavirus closures, resources for businesses, and information from government officials. If you aren’t already, strongly consider becoming a member to support them and to receive timely information. AmericanHort, the national horticulture industry group, has a Coronavirus Resource Center that includes:

  • Federal relief efforts
  • Small business assistance
  • Workforce
  • Business best practices
  • Communications and management tips
  • Garden retail resources
  • Webinars

Retailers will also want to check out federal assistance programs such as the United States Small Business Association (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) program. This program is a part of a large government stimulus package for financial relief during the coronavirus pandemic. More stimulus packages may be passed depending on the duration and severity of the closures from the pandemic. Business owners should monitor this and other programs. During this time of extreme stress, MSU Extension's Farm Stress Program is now connecting farmers to licensed therapists via teletherapy. Stay tuned to MSU Extension as guidance is released for farmers working to keep employees safe.

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