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Tampa’s gardening business booming during quarantine

With more people spending more time inside due to the coronavirus, the gardening industry is experiencing a boom.

TAMPA, Fla. — With more people spending more time inside due to the coronavirus, the gardening industry is experiencing a boom.

Both indoor and outdoor gardening stores are selling more plants than ever. 

The new trend helped keep one Tampa Bay business that was thinking about closing not only stay open but thrive.

“In general, people are spending more time in their homes, they want to be close to nature,” Steve Stanford, President of Plantz, said.

Tampa Bay business owner Steve Stanford launched Plantz over a decade ago, providing high end plants to mainly commercial clients. 

Plantz says they also offer 6 and 6 and a half food plants unlike many of their competitors. 

“Most of our business is servicing offices and hotels and hospitals, commercial buildings in the Tampa Bay market.

But with the quarantine came a sharp crash in business because those large customers stopped buying. 

“The thought of closing down was awful,” Stanford said. A choice he was facing until he noticed a surge in online orders from people – not his typical local buyers – but all over the country. “We’re up over 50% in online sales from last April,” Stanford said.

A surprising bump from an unexpected buyer. 

“I’d like to thank the millennial generation for embracing the plant trend. It’s that generation that’s pushing up numbers for garden centers and companies that sell plants,” Stanford said. He says this new customer base is now the bread and butter of his company and hopes people continue to see the value of plants.

“Plants have the ability to pull volatile compounds out of the air and they produce oxygen, a basic need,” Stanford said.

So far, he says the most popular order is the Fiddle Leaf Fig. But Plantz offers a variety starting at $50 and up. With this new customer base, he says he’s thankful to still be in business. 

“If you’re looking to lower your stress and pull nasty stuff out of your air then look us up,” Stanford said.

While they ship plants all over the country, since they are based in Tampa, they offer locals the option to pick plants up at their shop to avoid shipping costs. 

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