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Coronavirus is devastating to tulip growers during normally busy time

(Matt Pitman/KIRO Radio)

The coronavirus continues to hit businesses of all kinds, and they’re getting hit pretty hard right now in Skagit Valley. The Tulip Festival has been cancelled, which is obviously going to severely hurt some growers. Brent Roozen from Tulips.com and Roozengaarde Tulips in Mount Vernon joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss the impact to his industry.

What do these closures and the stay-at-home order do to his business in particular?

“Well, it pretty much shuts us down. Right now, the spring season represents about 90 to 95 percent of our annual revenue, so we’re looking at missing out on almost all our revenue for the year,” Roozen said.

“Much the same as a lot of business owners out there, there’s a lot of uncertainty, a whole bunch of fear immediately, a lot of emotions that we have not felt probably in the history of the company. … We’ve been through some pretty bad floods, and freezes, and other natural disasters, but this situation is different. And honestly, we’re not really sure what it holds for our future.”

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Numerous businesses are being hurt right now, but a lot of businesses don’t earn 90 to 95 percent of their revenue in this period of time. So it came at the worst possible moment for Roozen.

“We’re trying to focus on the positives, and we think we can try and connect with more people, hopefully. There’s obviously probably more demand for our tulips and what we can share with people than maybe ever before; we’re trying to connect with as many people as possible and share the beauty of our blooms,” he said.

In terms of trying to adapt, Roozen is emphasizing shipping as a workaround.

“We’re still shipping. So lots of questions on whether people can come and pick up orders. Right now, we do not have pick up available. We wish we did, but that kind of goes against the message asking people to stay home. … All the flowers are shipped overnight, so it’s about as fresh as you can get them, straight from the farm to your house overnight.”

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“Our spring tulips are pretty unique and there’s a lot of demand there, so our shipments are up and we’re happy with that, of course, because that’s about our only business right now.”

If you’re in a position where it’s not so uncertain economically speaking, you should consider donating gift cards, going to takeout restaurants or, in this case, grabbing some tulips. Jason said he is broadcasting from home and only has one dead plant in his house, so he might get some.

“For those people who can’t afford to do that, then you can always follow us along on social media on Facebook or Instagram, and we’re going do our best to share the beauty of our bloom with as many people as possible, and hopefully brighten their days during these times that are uncertain and somewhat dark for a lot of people.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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