Greenhouse owners concerned over financial impact of Michigan’s extended stay-at-home order

Greenhouses, garden centers deemed non-essential amid coronavirus pandemic

BELLEVILLE, Mich. – Robson’s Greenhouse in Belleville is usually extremely busy on Easter weekend.

However, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extended stay-at-home order deems greenhouses and garden centers non-essential -- impacting the industry’s busiest time of the year.

Robson’s Greenhouse, a family-run business established in 1929, is only open from mid-May until June. The business has a six-week window to sell their product and earn their entire year’s living.

“If we cannot get this stuff out it turns to garbage," says Kevin Robson, owner of Robson’s Greenhouse. "It’s hundreds of thousands of dollars that have went into creating these flowers -- plus employee wages [and] all the taxes.”

The executive order is currently in place until April 30, but the Robson family worries that the order will be extended and disrupt their business for the year.

Robson says he is not minimizing public health concerns, and would be happy to comply with social distancing guidelines if they can remain open.

It’s estimated that the industry employs 9,000 people and generates $700 million. Robson has 15 full time workers at 42 greenhouses.

With 30,000 hanging baskets, 50,000 bedding plants and thousands of vegetables on the line, Robson is trying to stay optimistic.

He hopes others can enjoy his products during this time, as he says flowers are the “best mental health remedy.”

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