Charvet’s Garden Center Went From Bustling to Closed


What are you doing with all your free time? Are you organizing closets, binging on “Tiger King,” or baking lots of bread? Many people are gardening, planting backyard victory gardens or beautifying their lives and landscapes with trees, shrubs and flowers. As such, it was no surprise that a few weeks ago, Charvet’s Garden Center was bustling.

“Spring is always the busiest time of year for our garden center,” said Michelle Charvet, owner. “It was a bit busier than expected this year once non-essential businesses were closed and shelter in place orders were issued. We hoped to provide an opportunity to enhance our community’s homes and gardens and provide a little bit of plant therapy for them.”

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Marilyn and Carol Charvet founded their business in 1968. When they retired, they turned over the reins of the business to their daughter, Michelle, who has licenses and certifications in arboriculture, horticulture, landscape contracting and commercial pesticides.

At first, the business went the extra mile to reach out to their customers during the pandemic.

“We used Facebook as a platform to communicate online and posted signs on the streets surrounding our garden center,” said Michelle Charvet.

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And it worked, customers were coming in and buying a little bit of everything. Vegetables, fruits, herbs, bedding plants, shrubs, and fertilizers were some of their best sellers.

The Charvets said they customers were often sharing how gardening was helping them feel normal and happy.

To stay safe during this time, they increased the frequency that all touched surfaces were cleaned and reduced their business hours to allow for their staff of eight to rest adequately. They also took phone orders, arranged deliveries, arranged curbside pick-ups, and allowed sensitive staff to elect not to work without penalty.

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But finally, Charvet had to make a hard business call — one that didn’t factor in profit or higher sales.

“The owners and staff at Charvet’s Garden Center were very concerned about the well-being of our customers, community, and families,” said Michelle Charvet. “As COVID 19 is very contagious and spring is our busiest time of year, it became obvious that we needed to eliminate the potential to spread this disease at our establishment. It was the best option for our staff, their families and our community to close the gates.”

She said the business isn’t really set up to do online business.

“We thrive on customers coming to our store, finding plants, garden art, statues, pottery, knowledgeable staff and inspiration while visiting.”

Members of the small business community are finding ways to adapt and adjust to this new challenge. And, like Charvet, many are making sacrifices but remaining optimistic.

“Charvet’s Garden Center is committed to our community’s health and well-being,” Michelle Charvet said. “We will reopen when it is safe to gather together again in a place where our community feels safe, inspired and calm.”



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