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Florists in Peterborough ‘scraping through’

Peterborough florists are still getting orders for funeral flowers, but business has been very slow. Two business owners share their experience of coping in the lockdown.
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Florists in Peterborough struggling with lack of business due to coronavirus (Picture: Pixabay)

Since the lockdown was put in place on March 23, many industries and small businesses have been struggling to cope, with many feared to go bust if the situation prevails for a long time. 

However, there has been an assumption that one industry might be doing alright due to the pandemic and an increasing number of deaths- florists. 

Sadly, that’s not the case for two florists who spoke to Peterborough Matters. Like others, they have had to put their shutters down and have found it difficult to carry on. 

Steven Lovelace from Lovelaces Flowers in Rivergate has been getting a few orders for funerals but business has been very slow for them. He said: “We shut our shop since the lockdown started. It has impacted us- myself, my son, my daughter. We are scraping through. 

“We have been getting a few funeral orders from funeral directors but it’s not massive. Occasionally someone orders a few bouquets but that’s it.  

“Many weddings have been cancelled. Some couples have re-scheduled it so given us deposit, but it’s had a significant impact. 

“Also, there’s a shortage of flowers. The small businesses like us are struggling to get supplies of certain flowers. The big chains and supermarkets seem to get them but again like always small retailers are in a difficult spot- with price rises, lack of supplies. We are struggling no doubt.” 

Another florist who did not want to be named has now started online orders to keep going. They have also got new measures in place ready for when they re-open. They said: “We closed our shop as soon as the lockdown was announced. Only this week we stared online orders and deliveries. 

“Business is quite slow. The funeral orders are still steadily coming in but it’s still reduced demand. Because of the social distancing measures, people are not attending funerals so that’s why they're probably not buying flowers. 

“Weddings are not happening either, so it has impacted our businesses. But we are okay. 

“We are however hopeful things will get back to normal soon. We have made a few changes in our shop, ready for when we re-open.

"We got a man to come in and fix a screen for the counter, re-arranged the shop a bit to have more space for people, and we can continue to maintain distance between customers. Even now, we are wearing fresh gloves for deliveries and while preparing the bouquets and other orders. So, we are doing our bit and hopeful things will pick up.” 

Both the businesses have started the process to claim help provided by the government and awaiting support shortly. 

Garden centres are also in a very difficult spot due to the pandemic with perishable goods still unsold. 

Thousands of garden centres and nurseries also closed to adhere with the social distancing measures, including many in Peterborough. However, there have been reports that millions of garden plants could be binned, due to lack of sale.  

Spring is the busiest season for this industry, and it was seeking financial help from the government to sustain the pandemic. 

Although some garden centres have started to adapt to the current situation with new business modules. Notcutts in Peterborough also shut on March 24.

However, it sent out this message on social media regarding online business: “Our plants are either being donated to charities, sold online or those that remain are being fed and watered and kept alive in-store.  

“Our industry bodies, the Horticulture Trades Association and the Garden Centre Association are both in touch with government on behalf of the horticultural industry. They, like us, however, understand the importance of the social distancing strategy that is in place and we are doing our very best to support the national effort to help tackle this awful Coronavirus threat.” 

Cherry Lane Garden Centre in Gunthorpe, Dobbies in Peterborough and the Waterside Garden Centre among others are all operating online as well since the lockdown.