Partnership between two large Langley businesses could help stem COVID-related losses for both.
The collaboration gets underway on the holiday Friday, with a series of pop-up garden shops being introduced to sell an abundance of spring plants that might otherwise end up in the compost.
As industries struggle to come to terms with the impact of the coronavirus, many businesses are having to look to one another for support. And such is the case for Langley’s Darvonda Nurseries, which less than two weeks ago learned that its largest single wholesale buyer would be unable to accept a majority of this season’s orders.
That meanss the nursery is sitting with at least 80 per cent of its annual vegetable plants and potted annuals, and no way to get them to the consumers, explained nursery owner Lawrence Jansen.
Sure, Jansen can sell a few from their Milner greenhouses, but nothing substantial. No where near the 40 acres of plants they have in inventory and ready to go – now.
So, he and the team had to start thinking outside the proverbial [planter] box – and it had to be done quickly.
Casting around for ideas, that’s when Jansen reached out to a fellow Langley/Surrey-based company – Joseph Richard Group (JRG) – which had sponsored past events with Darvonda in previous years, including the Glow Gardens events.
With all the recent changes in the local communities due to COVID-19, JRG was happy to offer up any assistance possible, said JRG’s CEO Ryan Moreno.
Working together, the two businesses are launching the pop-up stores in the parking lots of several Langley, Surrey, Maple Ridge, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack restaurants and pubs this long weekend.
“During times like this, we believe it’s more important than ever for community to come together and businesses within it to try and hold the communities up as best they can. That’s one of the many roles of local businesses so we’re happy to work with the team from Glow Gardens and hope our locations provide great community spots for pop ups for their business. Plus it provides our guests a bright and beautiful entry for curb-side pick up!” Moreno added.
The plants will be sold at wholesale cost, with a portion of the money going to JRG, which has the workers (some who can hopefully be hired back after COVID-related layoffs) to staff the operations. Likewise, Jansen said, JRG has large parking lots in multiple prime locations throughout the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley – making it an ideal retail venue.
They’re rolling out the pop-up shop concept on Friday, April 10, and Jansen said “I’m excited for it.”
• Friday, April 10, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Townhall South Surrey
Townhall Maple Ridge
• Friday, April 10 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
If the sales concept goes over as well as he expects this weekend, it’s hoped it will continue, Jansen said.
And if so, as of April 11, all locations will be operating from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day until they’re sold out.
“There’s definitely demand for our product,” Jansen said, noting that the great spring weather always helps motivate people to garden. And now, despite the circumstance causing it, people are actually staying home more and as a result are anxious to make their living space more attractive and productive.
“The whole farm is riding on this,” Jansen said, adding: “We just have to get it into the hands of our consumers safely, with social distance constantly in mind.”
In addition to the pop-up shop concept being rolled out Friday, Darvonda is also launching online sales, through their GlowGardens.com website, with arrangements being worked out for delivery and pickup options.
Darvonda isn’t the only local or nation-wide greenhouse suffering amid the COVID outbreak, Jansen explained.
“This isn’t only me… this is almost every other grower out there. I’m not the only grower in this position,” he said, noting others in the industry are getting orders cut or completely cancelled – some reaching into the Christmas season already.
If these new sales methods work, and Jansen is optimistic it will be a win-win-win situation, he will be sharing their entire model with other ornamental flower growers.
“I hope it will give all of us a fighting chance to survive.”