The COVID-19 pandemic and closure of non-essential businesses has been especially difficult for florists who tend to do the majority of their business during this time of year. 

Many local florists have lost out on the revenue they generally bring in from proms, graduations, weddings and funerals. 

For some local florists who recently reopened, business is starting to blossom again with an increase in sales due to customers looking for alternative ways to celebrate moms on Mother’s Day. 

Village Garden Florist in New Concord recently reopened after being closed for nearly five weeks. 

During that time, they lost a wedding and did no funeral work.

Darla Galbreath, owner of the flower shop, estimates the business lost approximately $8,000 during the shutdown. 

"We had to get our doors open for Mother’s Day," Galbreath said. "We couldn't lose Mother’s Day. We lost graduation. We lost prom. We do a lot of the college work, so we lost all the college work for summer, and we lost two graduations for the schools. We lost a lot of business."

Galbreath said that they are lucky to own the building the business is in. She said they would have been in financial trouble if they would of had to pay rent. They still had to pay utilities and insurance, however. 

Shelley Rockwell, owner of The Flower Gardens in Barnesville, estimates that their six-week shutdown has resulted in them losing 90% of their revenue compared to this time last year. 

"We missed things like Easter, a wedding, a number of funerals, dance recitals, proms for three to four different school districts, and graduations, day-to-day school deliveries, and day-to-day hospital and nursing home deliveries," Rockwell said. "So pretty much everything. We were able to do a little bit of funeral work on a very limited basis."

One of the main problems for her shop is that, according to Rockwell, many of her flower distributors were also closed so they wouldn’t have been able to get any flowers for the shop during that time. 

Rockwell said she spent most of time while her shop was closed was spent doing renovations, painting and general maintenance while closed. She expects her business to rebound after the shutdown.

The Flower Gardens reopened with no contact delivery and curbside pick up for Mother’s Day.

Rockwell said she was grateful to be able to do that and it was a help to the business. 

The business, which typically sells a lot of hanging baskets and potted annuals for Mother’s Day, also sold a lot of fresh flowers this year. 

"I’m hoping that is going to continue in the weeks ahead," Rockwell said. "It’s a really wonderful way for the people to reach out to one another and they can still do it with no contact, and do something nice for somebody when you can’t get out to get a card or find a gift or whatever. A lot of our work is custom and unique so people are getting one-of-a-kind arrangements, so it makes it special."

An Enchanted Garden in Cambridge, actually closed a week before Gov. Mike DeWine’s order to close non-essential businesses because co-owners Lynn and Allison Boylan thought it was the responsible thing to do. 

The business remained closed for two weeks after the order, during which time they lost 100% of their business. An Enchanted Garden also experienced a supply interruption from their wholesalers and growers.

When they first closed, with no customers to sell flowers to, the shop donated the flowers they had in their inventory to Cambridge Place, an assisted living facility, with positive notes attached for the residents. 

After two weeks, according to Allison, they thought if restaurants could safely deliver then florists, who have always been in a delivery business, could do so and reopened doing curbside pick up and no contact deliveries.  

According to Allison, the first couple of weeks after reopening were a little difficult due to the supply chain interruption, but they have done pretty well since and have been able to meet customer demand. 

The business has been doing some funeral work, with the flowers typically being sent to the family home instead of the funeral home since there are no calling hours right now.

"We may have seen a little bit of an uptick in deliveries to hospitals and nursing homes because a lot of these people are not allowed to have physical visitors and people have been sending flowers in their place," Allison said. "We also send fruit baskets and chocolates and balloons also, so just different things to lift up the residents’ or patients’ spirits."

All three businesses anticipate reopening when the governor allows retail to start business again on May 12.

The stores plan to have protective measures such as face masks, limiting the amount of customers in the stores, and social distancing in place when they reopen their shops.

"I think that flowers really pack a punch when it comes to wellness and are distracting in a pleasant way," Allison said. "People have kind of returned to this industry. It was one of the only industries that made it through the earlier recessions because it was always what people used to celebrate. It’s been kind of an interesting time to be in this industry regarding the changes that are happening in it and things that are going on."