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Because of the late arrival of warmer weather, Laura Newman had to shift her orders at Ace Hardware and added a larger heating system to protect the valuable products in the greenhouse. — Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

Extended winter affects gardening businesses

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BEMIDJI — It’s spring time, but the winter-like conditions that had loomed over northern Minnesota longer than normal had some impact on local businesses.

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Despite weather starting to turn around to warmer temperatures recently, for greenhouses, gardeners and landscapers, the cold weather of previous weeks means a late start to the planting season.

“It’s a setback, spring — we’re going to head right into summer. We’re going to miss spring this year,” said Bill Shaw, operations manager at Ace Hardware. He works with the greenhouse there.

The extended winter “overall in anyone’s business has had an impact.” Shaw said.

Others have felt the effects of the extended cold temperatures on business, as well.  

“It’s affected us, but I don’t know if it’s permanently affected us yet or not,” said Bob Larson, an employee at the Country Greenhouse.

“We’re hoping that it hasn’t,” he added with a laugh.

“Well we got a late start, that’s for sure,” said Chad Museus, who runs the landscaping division at Nature’s Edge Garden Center. “Sales have been a little slow here, but we are hoping that when the weather finally does turn around … I think people will get going later and we’re hoping that those who would normally come in early will come in a couple weeks later and carry on like they normally would.”

Despite the late start, these businesses expect a good spring holiday season.

“We’ll still have our Mother’s Day sale on plants and everything,” Shaw said. “I think everything will go fine, people are still going to buy things for mother. They may have to keep them in the garage for a few days, but people will still go through the tradition of buying plants.”

May is Nature’s Edge Garden Center’s busy season, Museus said.

“Usually between Mother’s Day weekend and Memorial Day weekend are really busy times,” Museus added “So if the weather turns around, we can still have a really good season. If not, we’ll hopefully just extend it out a little further.”

Though the cold weather lingered, it is not unusual.

“Realistically, this is more normal. But we have been so spoiled for so many years of having spring earlier,” Shaw said.

“Up in this country, you never certain we’re not going to have a hard freeze until maybe the first of June anyway,” Larson said.

With warmer days arriving, people should not jump the gun on planting outdoors.

“Quite honestly, we don’t recommend people start planting vegetable plants until closer to Memorial Day anyway,” Larson said.

“They’re antsy, everyone wants to do stuff. People just want to get out of the house,” Shaw said.

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Joe Froemming
Joe Froemming is a reporter/copy editor for the Bemidji Pioneer. You can follow him on Twitter @JosephBemidji
(218) 333-9200 x327
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