Garden shop digs deep during pandemic
With reduced hours, a limited staff wearing masks, and customers standing six feet away from each other, business isn’t exactly as usual at Olson’s Garden Center, but that hasn’t stopped Melissa Ferreira from doing everything she can to make it through the spring season.
Ferreira explained that Olson’s is allowed to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic, but that the garden shop on Cranberry Highway has had to limit its operations this spring.
The shop is normally open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday, but this season, Olson’s is only open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on days when the weather is nice, and customers are more likely to come in.
Under normal circumstances, eight to ten employees would be working at Olson’s, but now only Ferreira and one other manager are on hand.
In doing their part to limit the spread of the virus, workers at Olson’s have been wearing masks, encouraging social distancing, and keeping the facility as clean as possible.
On a sunny afternoon on April 6, customers wore masks and spaced themselves apart from each other while waiting to be checked out in line. After dealing with customers, Ferreira was quick to disinfect her countertop.
For customers who might not want to venture into the shop during the pandemic, Olson’s has designated a curbside pickup area in the store’s parking lot. The garden center has also placed signs that read “please keep social distancing” and to call 508-759-1471 to request the curbside pickup service.
While the business may be scaled down overall, Ferreira said she has seen about a 50% increase in people looking for vegetables that they can grow at home.
Ferreira said that customers are likely looking to grow their own “victory gardens” to be more self-sufficient, and cut down on the need to go out and buy fresh vegetables during the pandemic.
For those who want to get started with their own gardens, Ferreira recommended doing some basic research, and said that “gardening is a lot of trial and error.”
She added that gardening could be a good learning opportunity for kids who are home from school due to the pandemic.
Nesralla Farms on Sandwich Road has been taking similar precautions during the pandemic. The company posted to their Facebook page on April 2, writing “It’s our top priority to make sure that our customers and employees are safe and healthy. Gloves are being worn and we are sanitizing as much as possible.
If you are interested in placing an order to be picked up, we can process payment over the phone and will prepare your order for curbside pickup at a convenient time for you. Our phone number is 508-295-0105.”