Covid and the garden- Thank you!

I’ve worked in the nursery industry, non-stop from 1992 until the present. I’ve seen every kind of weather that you can even conceive. I’m not surprised by the weather anymore. (But I do know what is Oregon and what is not.) I’ve gone through retail booms and busts and Great Recessions, and the beginning of a retail site. but nothing has been as life and business altering as Covid-19.  And nothing is as wonderful as the response that we have gotten in sales and support.

Greg and I have somewhat separated lead tasks at Xera. I mainly do propagation, potting, marketing, and the website (with the excellent assistance of Collage Creative). And man, were we lucky to have a website to support our sales. In all honesty that was dumb luck. Our friend Susan at Collage Creative created our new website and I was challenged to make it as good as the template she handed me. I also, very much like to write. And though my punctuation is challenged and grammar is creative it is a blast to me to convey the usefulness of plants. So, I simply filled it in with words and pictures. I’ve tried to write the website I’d like  to find. I work on it constantly, changing things and hopefully, improving it. By that I mean that it conveys even more information. I had no idea how helpful it would be.

Nothing has been more stunning to me than my business partner Greg. He’s a true hero. In less than a weekend, he formulated our curbside ordering and new protocol. The dude revels  in logistics and he’s married (sorry Christian) to his Excel sheet. But he made the pivot so seamlessly- basically our sales were un-interrupted. This would be valiant unless you understand the whole story. Greg GROWS all of the plants too. He does our finances, he organizes INSANE special orders and he deals with people that I would rather set on fire. He also WATERS our plants – or sees that they are meticulously watered by someone. In all he’s an amazing person and I’m so happy that we are not only dear friends but business partners as well. So, for all of you that ordered plants off of Greg’s intricate availability, received an email confirmation back, seamlessly picked up your perfectly grown orders at a safe distance- including out of control special order juggling that makes me spin.-give a huge round of applause and a hearty thank you for Greg the next time you see him.  He saved our business and your garden sanity.

Thank you also to our employees Brandon and Andy. They also made the transition without ANY hiccups. They just picked it up and cruised right through.  Adinah and Susan thanks for keeping us irrigated. Greg insists that we hand irrigate- of course which is why we are free of the nightmare of liverwort (the green hard slimey stuff on the surface of the soil that can really screw plants up). Susan thank you too for whipping up the availability on the website.

In all I  have only one complaint. Its terribly boring.

We dearly miss interacting with our customers. Picking orders and moving widgets is not much fun if you don’t make a connection to another gardener. I selfishly say this because mostly I learn a shit-ton from customers so I’m not innocent in that way.  Its seriously gratifying to see a plant that you started as a cutting and grew go to someone who seriously appreciates it. So, much of our lives are just plain commoditized that this genuine process and interaction I think is special. And we really miss it. So, we are actively planning to re-open to the public as soon as we make some plans. Greg and I like having the availability on the website- its worked really well. I don’t have Greg’s near eidetic brain for inventory, so its great for all of us and we’ll continue to do website/curbside orders. That means we need to do a little reorganization in the shop. As soon as that is complete we’ll let you know.

Thank you so much for supporting us during this BIZARRE time in United States history. So many things are going on with such intensity that I’m in awe that people are as in tune with their gardens as they are. I have used my garden as a sanctuary during this time, and it hasn’t looked this good in years. So, I hope that gardeners who are grounded people in general are using a little phytotherapy themselves. and it appears that they are. Thank you for practicing social distancing and wearing masks. Our shop is not huge, so we’ll have to figure out what is the safest and yet comfortable way to open to perusing.

Most of all, thank you to our wonderful customers. You also made the pivot seamless and you are not only appreciative, you’ve ordered again and again. Thanks for respecting our covid-free space. We are seriously concerned about the HORRIBLE debacle and failure of our government during this crises. We’ve talked endlessly about how to safely open the shop for you and for us. Thanks for your patience and your awesome patronage.