Davenport Garden Centres has seen a sudden radical change in its business model.
“We’ve had a website for four years, and that website represented maybe five per cent of our business,” co-owner Carla Rose says. “And now it represents 99 per cent of our business.”
Davenport is one of many local garden centres that has opened for curbside pickups and deliveries in response to the ongoing pandemic.
A seasonal business, it has re-opened this year as an online business after Premier Doug Ford’s announcement on May 1 that certain businesses can reopen and operate, including garden centres and nurseries, with curbside pickup and delivery.
With this transition there have been challenges, Rose says. Some employees decided not to continue working to avoid commuting by public transit. Employees have also taken vulnerable family members into consideration.
Practising physical distance within the workplace means only be a few staff members can be working at one time. This increases the workload on each employee, Rose says.
“No customers are allowed in the retail space,” Rose says. “They ring a bell and we come out. We don’t load things in cars. We put the products down and step back allowing the customer to pick them up. So there’s no contact.”
She has been gratified to find people want to support local businesses during this difficult time.
“That’s really been something very heartwarming to hear and much appreciated,” she says.
Some garden centres have been open longer since they are associated with hardware businesses that were allowed to stay open during the pandemic as an essential business.
Home Depot has been operating with curbside pickup and delivery for several weeks, says Paul Berto, director of corporate communications, through email.
This service has already been for Home Depot’s outdoor garden centres, Berto says.
Here’s a list of some local garden centres that are open for curbside pickup and deliveries.
Central Toronto/Forest Hill area
Canadian Tire Garden Centre, 839 Yonge St.
Davenport Garden Centre, 368 Davenport Rd.
Sacred Seed — Garden Supply, 624 Yonge St.
Summerhill Nursery & Floral, 1 Poplar Plains Rd.
North Toronto area
Bob’s Garden Centre, 959 Mount Pleasant Rd.
Sheridan Nurseries, 2827 Yonge St.
Mardi Gras Florist, 808 York Mills Rd.
East York and east-end Toronto area
Everything Store & Garden Centre, 923 Pape Ave.
East End Garden Centre, 1395 Queen St. E.
Beech Nursery, 4 Carlaw Ave.
Queen Garden Centre, 771 Queen St. E.,
Garden’s Path Floral Design, 983 Queen St. E.
Home Depot Garden Centre, 7 Curity Ave.
Lowe’s Home Improvement, 3003 Danforth Ave.