When the going gets tough, the tough get growing!
This season, our staff have really gone above and beyond to help make the year a success. They have made the difference between our business staying afloat or sinking. I really hope that by writing this note, I can somehow not only convey my feelings of gratitude towards them, but also let you, our loyal customers know how much our staff mean to us.
In mid March, I was seeding in our propagation greenhouse and others were potting bare root perennials when it was first announced on our greenhouse radio that we were officially in the throes of a pandemic and that society as we knew it would be closing down. It took us approximately 5 minutes to decide that since we were growing food crops and were therefore classified as an ‘essential business’, we would carry on growing our crops with new safety policies and procedures in place.
Our staff were beside us all the way, supporting our decisions and offering up their help in any way needed. Right the way through the season, with all the ups and downs that were thrown at us, all the practical problem solving and quick solutions that had to be devised, our staff stood by us, understanding the dire consequences for us if our business did not make it. It was almost as if the pandemic made us all put our heads down and push on even harder.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank each of our employees one at a time…
Shelley Beattie – I don’t think you really knew what you were in for when you agreed to join us this spring! In a ‘normal’ year there is always so much to learn, but this year, you were certainly thrown in at the deep end. Thank you for sticking with us from planting to selling, learning fast and on the fly and always being happy to tackle any project. Now you know 40 types of tomatoes!
Cassidy Cherewaty – thank you for jumping into full time work, with zero notice and preparation right after university ended to assist our team. You were available at just the right time, becoming adept at picking and pulling orders, totaling bills as well as assisting customers. Your attention to detail, ability to work independently and problem solve did not go unnoticed. Thank you Cass!Willow Cherewaty – as the season progressed and we realized that we still needed additional help, you were there for us. You creatively scheduled your week to allow time for high school work in addition to working 5 days a week. Starting as a ‘gate opener’ you quickly progressed to assisting customers with all kinds of gardening requirements. You are a quick and happy learner and a pleasure to have around. Thank you for getting soaking wet several times!
Allison Fachnie, first off, congratulations on completing your Apprenticeship as a Horticultural Technician this winter. The plan was for you to work one day a week at the farm, in addition to working on our outdoor maintenance crews. However, this year was all about making things work and when our world was turned upside down, you stepped up and have been there for us, working 6 days a week in the greenhouses since March. Thank you for your flexibility and loyalty and allowing us to depend on you.
Darcia Fraser – although you were only with us for a few weeks before you had to leave to take care of your young family, we greatly appreciate all the pots you filled, plants you potted and watering you did to help us get set up before the pandemic hit. Thank you and I have a feeling that this is only the beginning…
Kelly French – few people realize that our season actually starts in October, as we start planning and ordering for the following year. Kelly, this season, you got a taste of some of this background work when in November you dove in without hesitation to take on designing our hanging baskets and planters as well as our custom containers. The designs were outstanding! Thank you for putting your heart and soul into this business. Thank you for being a sounding board as Chris and I made decisions on the fly and for allowing me to count on you for anything.
Ben Martin – you only signed up to work March Break and weekends, but like Willow you adapted to a new situation and rose to the occasion when we asked you to share your school responsibilities with greenhouse work, giving us 5 days a week of your time. Thank you for hours of pot filling, making the plant pick ups your own project and working conscientiously and tirelessly.
Dan Martin – on your first day home from university, you could see what a mess my office situation was and you jumped right in to help me keep my head above water. We were isolating our other staff from the office area, so I was on my own…. After you saved me there you became an integral member of the greenhouse team, picking orders, helping customers and being a friendly and efficient order delivery person. Thank you for recognizing our needs and always being willing to help in any way.
Kieron Rupke – our long time employee and friend who has been with us for 10 years now. Kieron, thank you for caring – for the plants, our customers and your co workers. Thank you for taking the time to mentor and impart your knowledge to our younger and newer employees. Thank you for staying late on numerous occasions and juggling your other jobs to keep us your top priority through these times.
You are all special to us and we thank you deeply for rising to the occasion this year. Since your clothes are all now covered in bleach stains, I promise to buy you all new pants!
And finally, thank you, our loyal customers
Words cannot express how grateful I am to you – our loyal customers. We really did not know what this year, our 28th in business would bring, but we were blown away by your support. It hasn’t been an easy year for us, dismantling our traditional selling methods and rebuilding from scratch. Thank you for your patience as we set up and and operated our order ahead system. Thank you for patiently waiting in line to enter our Drive In. Over the season, we received so many positive comments and notes of support. You told us that you were grateful to be able to buy plants, that you were feeling safe shopping here, that you enjoyed our happiness and that you appreciated all the running around that we were doing. Thank you, lovely and kind customers for taking the time to say ‘Thanks’! Your support means a lot. I feel relieved knowing that we were able to operate safely through the pandemic and so grateful to be in work, busy doing the job I love. My staff, Chris and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Let’s continue to plant hope together!