Cold and rain dampens West Michigan flower sales

Ottawa County

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — The impact of the recent cold and rainy weather is hitting local nurseries’ bottom line.

Tom Kowieski, owner of Sawyer Nursery in Hudsonville, says sales have been down dramatically compared to other years because customers aren’t getting outside to plant flowers.

“We need a break in the weather and its affecting my business,” Koweiski told 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday. “This may be our worst year in terms of weather and its impact on our business.”

Kowieski said sales this week are less than half of the norm for this time of year.

The lack of sunshine is also affecting plant growth.

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“The weather being cold and with the lack of sunlight, our plants aren’t growing and blooming on the schedule that we expect,” Kowieski said. “So that is being delayed.”

Sawyer Nursery is a large supplier of perennial plants that sells to big box stores in multiple states. The nursery in Hudsonville spans more than 150 acres.

The nursery’s top client has stopped some shipments during the critical month of May when Sawyer typically does much of its business for the season.

The fear for Kowieski is that the weather will transition quickly from cool to hot. In summer-like weather, Kowieski said many customers skip planting altogether.

“That would be really hurtful,” Kowieski said.

Sawyer Nursery employs more than 200 people. Some seasonal employees come to the area from outside the state.

Typically employees would be getting plenty of overtime. But so far this year, they haven’t been able to work their full schedules. That creates another potential hurdle to running the business.

“They may end up leaving us to work elsewhere. Then that really creates a problem for us once the weather finally breaks,” Kowieski said. “It kind of takes the wind out of your sails. We should be shipping 12 semi loads a day out of here, but we’re only shipping four loads because of weather.”

Kowieski is working to find alternative ways to sell his wares. He has reached out to smaller local nurseries and is working with the big box retailers to offer the goods at discounted prices.

He also is putting out this public plea: “Please go buy. You get great deals and you get great product.”

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