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Business not as usual for garden stores

"Pottery" by Travel Salem is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

While garden stores may not have been able to be open for their usual full season this year due to Covid-19 safety measures, business is still strong.


Adam Willson runs Willson's Garden Center in Petoskey Michigan, he said business has been unusual, but still profitable since reopening last month. The biggest change, he said, was the habits of customers.

“They seem to be buying more at one time, oftentimes folk will come in once, and they’ll get a few things and get that potted up, and then they’ll come back and pick up a few more things. And I’m seeing a lot more people buying all of it at one time, getting it home and doing all of their pots or all of their flower beds all at once,” said Willson.

He speculated that the phenomenon could have to do with current habits to just stock up on everything, he referenced the toilet paper craze at the beginning of the outbreak. Unlike toilet paper however Willson’s has been able to keep up with demand on nearly everything. He said it has been difficult to keep Cilantro plants in stock due to an unusually high demand. Willson also said speaking to suppliers, it seemed like soil is in short supply also, but he said, his business will adapt.

“We’ve been at this for 99 years now and we’ve survived the great depression and world war 2, we’ve seen a lot, as a business. I’m generation 5 of our family to operate the business, so that family experience gets passed down from generation to generation,” said Willson.

He said he expects the rest of the season to run relatively smoothly.