Michigan greenhouse owners brace for financial hit

Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 3:50 PM EDT
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Under the latest exeuctive order from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, greenhouses and retail garden centers in the state are considered non-essential.

As part of the stay at home order due to COVID-19, many places are closed in an effort to stop the spread of the virus, and that now includes greenhouses.

As warmer weather approaches, the seasonal shops usually do big business for the spring planting season. With the latest order in place until the end of April, many business owners are worried they could lose cash.

"Normally we'd be open by April 20, and we need to get rolling because we have so much product," said Mike Parran, owner of Parran's Greenhouse & Farm in Ida.

Parran said preparation for the season started months ago, with more than $800,000 invested inside the 4-acre site -- not to mention, they need to sell in order to pay the water and electric bills.

At this point, greenhouses and other retail garden centers around the state are bracing for what is to come. Parran said if they can open by May 1, they can make up for lost time, but if the stay home order is extended, it could kill business for the entire season.

"If she (Gov. Whitmer) puts it to June 1, it will force us to go out of businesses because we can't get no money," said Parran.

For now, the business had no choice but to stay the course and continue preparing for the busy season. The Michigan Farm Bureau is petitioning the Governor's office, hoping for a change in an effort to save the retail garden industry. As for the Parrans, they are hoping to see each plant pay off.

"We are keeping everything on track as of now. We are planting all the same amounts and keeping it right on schedule, just hoping and praying," said Darlene Parran.