Phew! Is it really the end of December already?!
As the 2020 season comes to a close we have been reflecting on what has been an incredibly unique, challenging, whirlwind of a season at Carp Garden Centre.
Since taking over ownership/operation of the Garden Centre in 2016, no season has been plagued with so much uncertainty and so many incredible emotional highs and lows. Even compared to our first season when we decided — with a three-week old baby! — that becoming owners of a garden centre on top of our landscaping operations was a great idea! Although, all joking aside, it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
This spring we, like many small businesses, were faced with the reality of survival during complete lockdown. How would we get through this? How would we adapt in order to keep our business afloat? Like so many other business owners, for us the business in question had been a dream of ours for such a long time and helped to put food on the table for our family. This business was also a space where our children were raised from birth, spending their summers jumping in piles of soil, and playing hide and seek in and amongst the plants.
When the going gets tough
As my father-in-law reminded me, when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and so we did… We started with the monumental task of converting our entire business to an online platform to offer online sales with curbside pick-up.
Many sleepless nights, after the kids went to bed, were spent uploading product information and pricing for hundreds of products. We called in family members who had been laid off from their regular jobs to help keep track of the online inventory and to manage orders. We pulled our landscaping crew to the garden centre to pull orders and pack them into trunks. And some how…it was working.
It was challenging to run during a season plagued with supply shortages. But all our efforts paid off, and we managed to have a successful season. We absolutely could NOT have done it without the help from our friends and family, our staff, our website developers at Foil Media, and most of all you, our customers.
You, our customers who stuck by us, who adapted to shopping for plants online (without touching or seeing or smelling them in person first — like, who can shop for plants that way?!?!) and who continued to support us when we finally opened our doors to the public again in July.
We even realized some dreams and made improvements
We are grateful that we got to go ahead with some long awaited plans during the pandemic. Jonathan and I finally got to celebrate our wedding this August, something that was years overdue, that had already been delayed twice for other reasons, and that frankly pandemic or no pandemic, was going to happen NO MATTER WHAT! How we managed to pull that off is a mystery even to us…
We were able to make some upgrades to the garden centre that we have been dreaming of and planning for a long time. We insulated and added a heat source to our retail shop which has allowed us to extend our season and expand the products we carry considerably. We installed a new greenhouse attached to the retail shop which will allow us to grow a wider variety of annuals in the spring but can also be utilized during other seasons; this December it was packed with Poinsettias!
We expanded our holiday season to offer not only our usual Christmas trees, but also a wider selection of custom wreaths, holiday planters, and a fantastic selection of stunning poinsettias, amaryllis, and Christmas cactus, to name a few.
It took a lot of work but we managed to pull through the season. But we must remain humble, there are many businesses that haven’t been as lucky as we have, that have had to close their doors permanently. Even as small business owners it has reminded us once again just how important it is to shop local, to support our local businesses and community. A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us this season, we couldn’t have made it through without you.
Closed for the season…just until March 2021
Today we close our doors on the 2020 season, and boy it has been a wild ride. We are in need of some much needed rest and relaxation. Our doors will re-open again in March 2021, at which point we will no doubt have come up with some more plans and ideas of what we can do and offer at the garden centre.
Happy Holidays from Jonathan, Tori, our family and everyone else from the team at Carp Garden Centre. We can’t wait to see you in the spring!