Garden Center busy during the coronavirus pandemic

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – While many things in our lives have stopped because of the virus and the world wide pandemic. When you go outside you are reminded that spring has sprung.

One industry deemed as essential during the current crisis are food and agriculture businesses.

Seeds used for vegetable gardens are some of the best selling items at Mayo’s Garden Center.

It’s one of East Tennessee’s local garden stores which incidentally opened 140 years ago selling and trading seeds.

The convergence of spring and stay at home orders has prompted many of us to start digging in the dirt.

People are shopping at garden stores, WATE visited Mayo’s Garden Center last weekend and again Friday.

Spring is generally a peak season for businesses like this. Garden centers, nursery operations, and landscape companies are deemed a critical industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are very lucky to have customers. We are lucky to be able to stay open, to be considered essential. So we have had constant traffic. We are grateful for everyone who comes in here. However, our business has changed. We sell a lot of patio furniture. That is not selling right now. But we are selling a lot of seeds, a lot of soils, a lot of fertilizers. We’re selling mowers, small power equipment. Those kinds of things.”

Elizabeth Mayor Cox – Mayo Garden Center

Numerous safety measures suggested by the CDC are being taken to protect customers and staff.

“Our stores are nice and big. So we are practicing social distancing and a lot of stuff is being done outside.”

Elizabeth Cox

Lots of people are outside now that the temperature has warmed up. Around East Tennessee many people are tending tho their yards.

Our wet spring means lawns need to be mowed frequently. Caleb Hancock has a lawn mowing business. Today he bought string for his weed trimmer.

“We’re just mowing yards today. Because it is essential as the governor said. That’s good to hear because we are really behind. I forgot my weed eater string at home so that’s why I’m here.”

Caleb Hancock

Now that it’s warmer, a wide variety of plants are being purchased. Surprisingly, there’s been a big interest and rush on seeds and food plants for gardens.

Back in WWII, victory gardens were a way of life due to rationing. Urban gardening today will unlikely match what people experienced more than 70 years ago.

But customers today were buying seeds for their brand new garden.

With East Tennesseans requested to stay at home, more and more people will be working at home to improve their homes, gardens and lawns.

With all of us asked to stay at home as much as possible, just like restaurants have gone to call ahead ordering, so has Mayo’s.

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