Van Atta’s Greenhouse and Flower Shop in Haslett, Michigan reached a milestone that it can’t acknowledge.
“We are a little disappointed that it’s the 40th anniversary and we can’t celebrate like we wanted,” said Van Atta’s florist Stephanie Crisp. “I’m sure we will make it up later on.”
Van Atta’s annual Fall Festival that features food, music, and crafts was one of the many events cancelled this year because of COVID-19.
Although their events are cancelled, they are planning to make up their losses.
“We will be decorating for the holidays sooner than we normally would,” said sales manager Lisa Bashline. “We are going to try to be as festive as we can, this will be beautiful.”
“We had planned out events every month,” said Bashline, who’s worked at Van Atta’s for 19 years. “We got through two months of those, and then we had to shut everything down which is a bummer.”
From mid-March to mid-April, Van Atta’s was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC put strict protocols in place, once the stay-at-home order was lifted. All customers and employees were asked to wear masks and stand six feet apart. The health of the employees and customers became a top priority at Van Atta’s.
“As a small business, we can’t afford for anyone to get sick,” said Bashline “It could shut everything down if someone did.”
Adaptations and business
The pandemic encouraged some to take up gardening.
“There were so many people starting gardens this year,” said Bashline. “I think that fear of going to the grocery store and seeing the shelves not have stuff on them, made people think I’m going to grow my own garden and can my own goods.”
With the cancellations of weddings and funerals, Van Atta’s could not foresee this year’s sale projection. To make up for what they lost, they started selling more than just flowers such as lawn decor, clothes, and accessories. The shop had to adopt a new way to please its customers. This was the start of contactless curbside pickup and delivery.
“We have curbside service, that’s new,” said flower shop technician Ann Pearl. “They stay in the car, all we do is take their name and bring back what they ordered.”
According to Floral Daily, the flower industry is picking back up after a decrease in sales at the start of the pandemic. Globally, importing and exporting flowers was a challenge as COVID-19 shut everything down. Sales began to increase once customers started to take advantage of online sales.
In the midst of COVID-19, Van Atta’s Greenhouse and Flower Shop received money from the state of Michigan as assistance for the pandemic, which helped keep them in business.
“I think the four or five weeks we were closed, assistance from the government helped,” said Bashline. “We consider ourselves very fortunate that the product that we sell, people still felt was something necessary for them this year.”