Making it Work!

How are your colleagues in Colorado and New Mexico living with the new COVID-19 guidelines? We will post stories here as we receive them - and please submit to [email protected] if you would like to share. How has your business been affected? Are you still fulfilling orders? Any order cancellations? Delivery issues?  Any insights would be appreciated and useful for other members to know. 

Here is feedback from CNGA members on the how they are adjusting their operations . . .

April 23
From CNGA student members -
"As far as how my semester is going, its been a bit frustrating but its working. I am taking plant propagation and the instructor is having to collect all of our data for us since we can’t go into the greenhouse. For my seed science class we weren’t able to complete our labs in person and can’t go on our field trip to the seed lab. Finally, for my senior seminar we are working on our capstone project. We had to make a introductory video about our topic of research instead of giving a presentation in person.Thankfully, I still am employed part time as a landscaper for the University and they have created an emergency fund for students to apply for and is paying student employees who are out of work the rest of what they would have made this semester."

"Things are very different as a student. It's been really difficult to grapple with emotionally, honestly. No one planned for this of course, and I so appreciate the community and my professors going above and beyond to try and make this work and provide digital resources! It's tough, because I am so grateful we have this technology to connect (like Zoom), but on the other hand, I feel like I'm really not getting much out of my courses at this point. They are very hands on classes, so trying to do that digitally is not a good fit for me. Especially in Floral Design when so much of learning is doing. I would love to use this time to go experiment in my own garden and landscape, but I'm finding myself too busy working online and attending class online (and then doing assignments that feel like time-fillers online) to go get my hands dirty and have the space to try and learn on my own! I am so thankful to be a part of such a dynamic community during this rough time, but as a student, I almost wish the schools would embrace this time of pause and encourage students to discover and explore on their own!"

April 16
Here's a news story highlighting the plight of our New Mexico members. Make sure to watch the video.

April 14
See how this member scrapped everyone’s job titles and departments and merged into one big team to change how they are doing business. Read article.

April 3
Wholesale Nursery, Brighton
We're surviving!  We are working hard on keeping our social distancing, especially in the office. We've locked the main door, and customers call in when they've arrived so we can send a ticket out to the loading crew. Where possible, we invoice with stored credit info, & have the customer sign at the vehicle. Our sales staff is also rotating days between home and office so that it is not crowded in the office.

Nursery and Garden Center, Littleton
We are open, same hours as regularly, but not holding any events or classes.  Sales are normal for this time of the year – customers buying lots of seeds, fruit trees.  

Wholesale Nursery, Englewood
May 4
We are doing the best that we can, Our business is at a level about 75% of last year and we are thankful. We have closed our office and ask our customers to phone, fax or Email their order in, then we try to have it ready for them. We are maintaining winter hours (closed on Saturday) We are checking employees temperature and are enforcing the 6’ rule.
April 3 - Sales OK.  Business similar to other years at this time. We're installing touchless faucets and doing other things to avoid as much cross contamination as possible. We have closed our lobby so no customers come in. Customers now call and let sales staff know they are there and staff goes out to the vehicle and gives them the paperwork for their order.  For receiving orders - only 1 person in a truck at a time. Specific people are assigned to specific equipment.  Potting is still proceeding with correct social distancing.  Everyone there is doing well.

Wholesale/Retail Greenhouse, Golden
We are open and planting as usual with proper distancing. Using masks at the register and sanitizing.  Retail is offering curbside if a customer requests it.  

Wholesale Greenhouse, Brighton
Generally things are good. Young plant part of business is going along as usual. Talking to our customers to identify how they will handle the deliveries and merchandising. Have given employees masks/bandanas plus gloves and extra sanitizing. We're taking the temperature of all employees coming into the greenhouse and asking employees to stay home for 3 days even if they just have cold symptoms. If anyone has had contact with someone with COVID or had a positive test result we ask them to self-quarantine for 14 days, or have a negative test result. We've placed spray bottles with disinfectant in all bathrooms and ask any employee to spray door handle, toilet handle, around sink etc. Practicing social distancing in all areas. Despite workforce adjustments things are generally working OK.

April 2
Wholesale Nursery, Albuquerque, NM
May 14 Update - 
We are doing amazing thanks in large part to our CO and AZ customers. NM landscape contractors are doing fairly well and it seems like IGCs are holding their own but sadly missed out on historic business that went to the box stores down here.


April 2 - Our labor remains at full staff. We won’t be hiring the seasonal folks which is just 8-10 workers. Everyone here is practicing proper distance and washing hands often. About half our employees are a bit scared frankly. It’s a lot of unknown and misinformation. We won’t have the year we thought but we plan to still have a good year we’re doing everything possible to keep everyone employed. The Cares Act sure helped with that.

We are only seeing a drop in garden center business but not extremely bad. The landscape contractor side of our business is up but not to projections. Our landscape distribution center customers are actually doing well or at least they are ordering good loads from us.’

March 27
Denver Botanic Gardens - closed to all visitors. The hort staff is still working which is nice to have hours. It is very weird though with no visitors.

Garden Center, Aurora - Open as usual for now. Felt the difference when Statewide “Stay at Home” order went in effect Wed (3/25). We are allowing people to shop, but also doing curbside. Lots of signage reminding people to social distance, mobile handwashing stations strategically placed around, cough/sneeze guards over registers. More sanitizing. Facility is large so easier to keep workers/customers apart. Regular hours now/but will reevaluate after the weekend (3/29) – might have shorter hours.

Wholesale Greenhouse, Denver - Business as usual, workers in greenhouses are wearing masks, keeping distance, using wipes. In office staggering shifts or working from home. Phones not as busy, but orders are still going out.

Florist/Gift Shop/Garden Center, Lafayette – Doors are closed, but open for deliveries and curbside pick-up. Business is slower but OK. Florist is steady. Skeleton staff working (today 3 florists, 2 garden center, 3/27), florists working in separate rooms, phone designated w/ person’s name so only 1 person using 1 phone. For deliveriers, drivers wearing gloves, ring doorbell and leaving at door, watching from truck to be sure someone comes out to get items. More sanitizing.

Retail Nursery, Longmont - Closed until 4/17

Retail Nursery, Fort Collins - Open, limiting #of people allowed in the store at a time. Mostly curbside. Lots of signage up & doing social distancing. Some employees opted to stay home, some out sick with other issues (not COVID). So slim staff. Business OK, slower since Wed (3/25).

Wholesale/Retail Nursery, Colorado Springs - Open with smaller staff, still potting up with people spread out more and wearing masks. Business is slower than normal but OK. Doing curbside if people want it.

Garden Center, Colorado Springs - Busy, allowing limited number of people in the store - have asked that only 1 per household come in, curbside is offered, but cumbersome and people still want to come in and shop. So they are letting them.

Nursery/Supply, Durango – open 9-4 M-F only, curbside pick-ups or they will load for customer. Only core management working. Business slower but Ok on nice days, today (3/27) snowing so slow. Doing CDC protocols, distancing, etc.

Nursery/Garden Center, Grand Junction - Open. Doing 6’ distancing, wipes, sanitizing. Have a large area and customers feel like it’s a safe spot so they have been fairly busy. Offering curbside, 8-9 AM seniors only. Some employees choosing to stay home, it’s ok w them. Using CNGA website for useful COVID-19 information.

Garden Center, New Castle - Doing zero contact sales. Setting up as an online store. Taking orders via phone/email. Processing credit card over the phone

March 26
Wholesale Greenhouse, Denver - This is our peak production time. We split our employees into two groups and they are working 12 hour shifts every other day. Most office staff is working remotely. So fare, attendance is great and the work is getting accomplished on time.  The city of Denver allowed one of our landscape customers to plant the 16th Street Mall with pansies yesterday. We have had some cancellations, but not a significant number yet. We expect this to increase in the coming days. Incoming orders have almost stopped.

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