Smith’s Gardentown feeling affects of COVID-19

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A local business that’s bloomed for more than 70 years is now wilting under the effects of COVID-19, after being forced close in-house operations.

“I don’t know that we can recover from losing an entire spring,” Smith’s Gardentown Owner Katherine Smith said.

The pressure is on for Smith, after the Wichita Falls City Council passed a shelter-in-place ordinance last Friday, closing all non-essential businesses, including nurseries.

“One thing we have to take into consideration is all of these plants that are ready for spring sales, many of them are in small pots, they will not be ready in July,” Smith said. “We will not be able to sell them then. If we don’t sell them now, they are goners. All of the rest of our inventory is perishable.”

Texas Representative James Frank hopes the city can find more ways to help all businesses that are closed due to COVID-19.

“I would like us to find ways that business can stay in business as long as they are not creating a health risk,” Frank said. “So, I think we ought to try very hard, I know the city council is looking at it and I think they need to continue look at ways that we can allow businesses to stay in business, really more important than the business but the employees to stay employed.”

For now, Smith said they have to make do with the cards they’ve been dealt.

“Right now we are able to deliveries only,” Smith said. “So, we are trying to take orders over the phone. We are having to put pretty high minimum on an order to be able to deliver it. So, that cuts out a lot of people.”

Although Smith doesn’t know what the future holds, she hopes for the sake of her business a solution will grow from this disaster.

The city council Tuesday allowed for delivery of items you would find at a nursery. But Smith said at a glance, they are going to be selling 10% of what they usually sell and spending about 50% more in labor to sell the 10% of their normal sales.

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