April 8, 2020

Good afternoon MNLGA Members:

This e-mail is distributed to key contacts; please feel free to share with others in your office. A few new things for you this evening:

I’ve just a few updates today. Its seems a bit quiet today. From the members that I’ve talked with, business is all over the board.  Sales may be down over all as markets have tightened, particularly out-of-state, but I’m hearing from retailers that their customers are demanding product – edible and otherwise. I don’t hear a lot from the landscape sector, but I see a lot at work in my neighborhood. Social distancing appears to be well-followed; I’m encouraging everyone to wear masks, however, to protect their workers and clients, and to show the public that the industry takes the COVID-19 precautions to heart.

Below are just a few things to note:

Webinars :
AmericanHort – No Contact Sales: A Discussion with Garden Center Retailers
Monday, April 13 1:30 – 2:30 EDT   Register (no fee)        

Garden Center Magazine - Virtual Spring Trials – 2020 California Spring Trials Virtual Conference
Tuesday, April 14 12 – 2 EDT Register

Garden Center Magazine - Managing COVID-19 – Sales and Marketing Tips for the IGC
Thursday, April 9 1 – 3 EDT  Register

AmericanHort – Communication Through Crisis   Link to recording (scroll down the page) ; one hour

Relief Programs :
CARES Act and PPP: A member supplied this FAQ which he thought more helpful than others.

MARBIDCO just released information about its Pandemic Adjustment Loan Fund Program .

Member Feedback :
Wholesale Grower – we have close to 100 employees right now. We’ve started checking everyone’s temperature when they report to work. According to CDC guidelines, a temp of 100.4 and below is normal. Anyone testing above that level will be sent home. An elevated temperature does not mean they have coronavirus; employees will have to follow up with their doctor. We have 4 thermometers in use and will utilize this protocol for the foreseeable future. (The Perennial Farm – name used with permission)

Patrick Waldt, MNLGA Secretary, shared this article that in attempt to limit foot traffic, box stores, like Target, Walmart, and Costco are now banned from selling “non-essential items” except via delivery.  I’ve (Vanessa) heard, but not confirmed, that the garden centers in Georgia Walmarts are closed to foot traffic.

Remember to utilize the COVID-19 resources page on the MNLGA website . It includes resources to help connect with consumers, explanations and access to state and federal recovery, employment, and relief efforts, and more.

Please keep me informed of what is going on with your business. If I know what is going on, I may be a better resource to you and to other members as we navigate together this uncharted territory. Feel free to email me at Vanessa @mnlga.org .

Vanessa A. Finney
Executive Director, MNLGA

Also, I'm reiterating that last week the MNLGA board paused all membership dues until April 1 of next year. As well, non-members are invited to join with a complimentary membership through the end of 2020. The purpose of this is to enable us to get information out to as many businesses as possible, as efficiently as possible. Pass the word to your non-member colleagues. Prospective members go to www.mnlga.org , click the "join here" button and select membership type 2020-Comp. Easy to do!

Blood banks across the area are in need. If you are able to give blood, please consider visiting the Red Cross. I think it would be wise to make an appointment rather than arrive unexpectedly.  Visit Greater Chesapeake Region Red Cross to find a donation center near you.