JOHN DAY — Grant County nurseries and florists didn’t slow down much during the pandemic — in fact, business picked up.
Customers spending more time at home resulted in many looking to local flower shops to spruce up the space where they spent the majority of their time while waiting for COVID-19 case counts to drop.
Julia Justice of Better Blooms and Gardens has been in business for over 20 years and says houseplants and succulents have been a hot item during the pandemic.
“Those were things (customers) were looking for because they were stuck in their homes,” she said. “There is still interest in that.”
Justice said she saw an uptick in people who had never had the time to garden before coming into her shop to make purchases. “When people were buying plants, they were realizing they’d never had time to work in their back yards before. Whether they were planting ornamental grass or blueberries, it didn’t matter.”
Justice says she doesn’t think the pandemic led to a better appreciation for gardening so much as there wasn’t anything else to do. “If you had to be home, you could sit on a couch and watch TV or you could actually get some house projects done,” she said. “I think for most of us it was a catch-up time.”
Terry Bowden of A Flower Shop N More said her business has seen a tremendous boost during the pandemic. Bowden said the shop didn’t see too many changes in trends other than the size of flower arrangements.
“It was trending on the incredible side,” Bowden said. “We’d have people ask us what our normal bouquet is and we’d tell them $45 or $50, and they’d say they wanted to spend $250 or $400. I was in shock. It wasn’t just one person, it just kept coming and coming.”
Bowden says the shop is back to “normal” now, but even that baseline isn’t the same as it was pre-pandemic.
“Our higher end and really high end would be $75-$100,” she said. “Now when people say they’d like a small bouquet, I’ve noticed that it’s going to be $75 and up for a small bouquet. I don’t understand where that is coming from, especially in our little community, because that definitely is not the norm.”
People are buying the same types of flora, they’re just buying more of it, according to Bowden.
“I think that people are at home more even now and are just spending more of their quality time at home,” she said.
The uptick in volume is something that Bowden isn’t sure will change anytime soon. “We’re probably ordering three or four times the amount of flowers. When you put it in that kind of perspective, it’s kind of huge.”