Publish date:

Minnesota garden centers push for 'Stay at Home' exemption

Not considered an 'essential business,' nurseries can only offer delivery or curbside pickup.
Author:
minnesota-gardens-chaska-greenhouse (1)

It's the time of the year when Minnesota's garden centers can expect to do a roaring trade, but instead they're facing the new reality of life under COVID-19 restrictions.

With garden stores and nurseries not considered "essential" retail under Gov. Tim Walz's "Stay at Home" order, those that have stayed open are now having to offer their flowers and plants via curbside pickup and delivery.

But with Gov. Walz signaling that the Stay at Home order could potentially be expanded depending on the latest coronavirus data, there are efforts within the industry to allow independent garden centers to stay open.

The Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association met with Gov. Walz on Friday, and part of their conversation centered around potentially allowing the green industry to re-open provided it "primarily works outdoors and can operate safely by implementing appropriate customer and operational social distancing."

Part of its argument is that the retail garden industry employs 42,000 people a year, and allowing them to partially re-open would reduce some of the burden on the state's unemployment insurance bill.

Also calling for changes is Minnesota Gardens, the Chaska-based retailer that has launched a petition calling on the Gov. Walz to allow mom n' pop garden centers to re-open for the "purpose of mental and physical well-being," at a time when gardening is one of the few outdoor pursuits available to Minnesotans right now.

It requests that stores are allowed to open their outdoor areas, which "have ample room for customers to be socially distant," with retailers implementing "one-way" lanes in its plant rows, and offer hands-free credit card payments only.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Despite having to switch to curbside pickup and delivery only, Minnesota Gardens says its business is actually up this year, partially helped by a 30 percent jump in pre-ordering vegetables, and is also increasing its Hanging Basket supplies ahead of Mother's Day.

But the major threat to the independent stores are the likes of Menards and Home Depot, which are still allowed to operate due to the supplies they offer "essential" industries such as construction, but which also have plant and gardening sections.

Business is up from last year, about 25 percent up," Minnesota Gardens' owner Mark Buse told BMTN. "Do we expect it to continue? Yes, if people continue to order online and over the phone, but that depends if Gov Walz does not change how we and other garden centers can do business.

"If he lets the big box stores continue to sell veggies, herbs, and plants and pulls the reins in on us, it will hurt."

It was reported last week that one of Minneapolis' major garden centers, Bachmans, had been given an exemption to allow it to re-open on Monday, but Twin Cities Business has since been informed that the exemption had been granted accidentally, and it will have to continue its curbside pickup and delivery for now.

The retailer did recently donate 1,500 of its Easter lilies and tulips to Abbott Northwestern as the hospital deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Next Up

Ambulance hospital emergency

Driver killed after crashing into parked semi-trailer

The crash occurred on the 5800 block of University Avenue Northeast.

Mike Zimmer

Vikings-Panthers: 5 things you can count on happening

The Vikings will look to open things up in Carolina.

Tanner Morgan/Gopher Football

Morgan's resurgence, Nebraska's miscues help Gophers hold on

The Gophers quarterback threw a pair of touchdowns in a 30-23 victory.

Tina Smith

Sen. Tina Smith warns Dems she may not vote for budget bill if climate plan dropped

This comes amid a White House effort to get its "Build Back Better" plan passed.

Pixabay - emergency room ambulance hospital

St. Paul man dies six days after crash on I-94

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has identified the man as David Rodney Hardaway.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Double murder in northeastern Minnesota, suspect kills himself after chase

The suspect died at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

chaska school fight

Anti-masker involved in school board meeting fight charged with assault

It happened last month at an Eastern Carver County Schools hearing.

Marcus Foligno

Marcus Foligno throws hands, scores game-winning goal in Wild's opener

The Wild forward scored with 7.2 seconds left to beat Anaheim.

Screen Shot 2021-10-15 at 10.01.55 PM

Large police presence at Emagine Willow Creek movie theater in Plymouth

There are few details at this stage as to what has happened.

Maple Grove Police Department

Maple Grove-based businessman convicted of fatally shooting wife

Wiseman owns properties in both Minnesota, Nevada and China.

betty and earls biscuits facebook

Jason Matheson's biscuit shop to briefly close ahead of relaunch

Betty & Earl's will shut down for two weeks before reopening under a new name.

Related

minnesota-gardens-chaska-greenhouse (1)

Coronavirus: Garden centers and nurseries can re-open, with changes

It follows modifications to the original Stay at Home order.

minnesota-gardens-chaska-greenhouse

The mom and pop garden center going the extra mile for customers

The coronavirus pandemic has put many a small business on edge.

coronavirus, covid-19

What must retailers do to reopen under new Stay at Home guidelines?

New rules allowing curbside pickup were announced on Thursday.

Screen Shot 2020-04-29 at 1.04.04 PM

Gov. Tim Walz to make Stay at Home announcement Thursday

The governor is expected to extend the order, but allow more businesses to re-open.

Rosedale Center

Rosedale Center, one of few MN malls still open, will close Friday

The Roseville mall will close to coincide with Gov. Tim Walz's Stay at Home order.

Tim Walz

Poll: Minnesotans back Walz's handling of coronavirus, Stay at Home

Minnesotans approve of limiting retail and restaurants to curbside pick-up.

coronavirus, covid-19, drive-thru testing

Minnesota nursing union has 'reservations' over lifting of Stay at Home

The union says that too many nurses go without adequate PPE.