Oregon area greenhouses doing brisk business

Kelly J. Kaczala

        While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the economy with most businesses struggling to comply with stay at home orders, others have seen a boom in sales.
        Greenhouses are among those that are seeing a brisk business. The public, stuck at home, are using pent up energy to do home improvements. With spring in the air, yard work and gardening are on the list of activities that can be done safely outdoors.  
        Some local greenhouses in the Oregon area are reporting booming business as the public buys flowers, vegetable plants, mulch, topsoil, compost, and other gardening supplies.
        “We’ve been getting slammed. It’s been crazy at the greenhouse,” said David Bench, of Bench Farms on St. Route 2 in Curtice.
        “People who never have had gardens are coming in. The vegetables are just flying out,” he said.
        The online store and curbside pickup has sometimes been overwhelming, he added.
        “It’s good, but it’s more work,” he said. His daughter and son in law have been helping out. “We never could have gotten this all done without them,” he said.
        Customers are wearing masks and following the six foot social distancing guidelines to protect themselves and others from the virus, he said.
        “We’re busy with curbside pickup, but a lot of people still want to come in and see the flowers,” he said. “Everyone is doing good. They’re wearing their masks and we have hand sanitizer in the greenhouse. They wash their hands when they go in, and wash their hands when they exit.  Everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
        Bench Farms is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays, and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
        Hecklinger’s Greenhouse on Seaman Road in Oregon is also seeing an increase in business.
        “It’s been great. Things are going very well. Can’t complain at all,” said Mark Hecklinger.
        The volume of customers coming in is much higher than usual,” he said.
        “People are buying vegetables like they’re going to starve to death.”
        Hecklinger believes the jump in business is due to people’s normal activities being curtailed by the pandemic.
        “People are sitting at home. They can’t travel, go on vacations, go to dinner, or go to the movies. So they have extra money to make their yards look nicer,” he said.
        Gardening is also great exercise, he added. “You go outside to get some sunlight and fresh air and you wonder what you can do because you can’t go anywhere.”
        Spading, weeding, lifting bags of mulch, pushing wheelbarrows, tilling, squatting, bending and raking improve muscle tone and strength.
        The greenhouse is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Social distancing is enforced at the greenhouse for customers’ safety and protection from the virus.


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