Exmouth garden centre facing uncertain future due to coronavirus shutdown
PUBLISHED: 11:13 02 April 2020
An Exmouth garden centre could miss out on half of its annual takings due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Geoffrey Ames, owner of Greenfingers Garden Centre, in Pound Lane, said this time of year is when they would take 50 per cent of the money they get for the whole year.
As a result of the Government’s instructions for all non-essential businesses to shut down, Mr Ames said Greenfingers has had to give away several plants which were not going to last through this period.
He said: “The ones that are more permanent we are trying to look after them and, hopefully, when this is all over, we will still have more viable plants.
“The lockdown is going to affect us. At this time of year, we will usually take 50 per cent of our money for the year. If this continues, that won’t happen.”
Usually, at this time of year, customers would be buying ‘impulse’ plants from Greenfingers – that is plants which are purchased because they look impactful now.
However, Mr Ames said his best hope is to look after these until next year.
He said: “We may have to look after them for another 12 months and hopefully sell them next year.
“We are not at all certain what impact this will have on our business.”
Mr Ames said he lives on site and is looking after the plants they have.
He raised concerns for the nurseries which supply him saying the lockdown will have a knock-on effect for them.
He added: “The nurseries that produce the plants, they are the guys that are going to have real trouble.”
Mr Ames said he doesn’t pre-order plants and buys them in response to demand.
“If we carry some over into next year, we’re not going to be buying new plants from them,” he said.
Mr Ames raised concerns that if the lockdown is in place until July, fewer people will be looking to buy plants as they will already be looking towards the autumn.
He said: “The plants will have lost their impact. They are impulse plants and they are annuals, so they only last for a certain period of time.”
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