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You can still garden in a pandemic

Art Knapp in Port Coquitlam shut its doors but is offering parking-lot service for orders of gardening supplies — and gardening advice over the phone
Art Knapp
Art Knapp gardening centre in Port Coquitlam is helping gardeners keep their thumbs green during the pandemic by taking orders and giving advice over the phone and fulfilling orders in its parking lot.

It’s the second day of spring and that has gardeners wagging their green thumbs to get planting.

But how to gather those annuals, perennials, shrubs, vegetable seeds and fertilizers in the midst of a pandemic and widespread store closures to get growing? 

Art Knapp, a gardening centre in Port Coquitlam, is offering a drive-in pickup service for its customers.

Ken Schreuwen, a manager at the store, said while the retail operation is closed to protect the health and safety of its staff and customers, it’s still taking orders over the phone that can then be picked up in the parking lot. Staff are even available by phone to offer gardening advice and recommendations, he added.

Schreuwen said since the system was put into place earlier this week, response has been positive and the shop’s large contingent of gardening advisors have been busy.

“It’s a big burden on the staff,” he said, “but they feel more comfortable.”

Schreuwen said the gardening centre feels an added burden of responsibility to keep doing business as people are staying home and looking for ways to keep busy, safely.

“Gardens are a good-feeling place,” he said.

Meanwhile, large retailers in the Tri-Cities that also have gardening centres, like Home Depot and Canadian Tire, are still open, but they’re adjusting their hours and taking extra measures to keep their businesses stocked and clean.

Home Depot announced Wednesday it will close its stores at 6 p.m. daily beginning Saturday. Canadian Tire is also reducing its hours.