Local greenhouse prepares for return to business after stay-at-home changes are announced


ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) ─ Governor J.B. Pritzker has extended Illinois’ stay-at-home order until May 31. Along with the extension, several changes have been made, including allowing greenhouses, nurseries, garden centers, and pet groomers to open back up for business.

That includes Village Green, 6101 E. Riverside Blvd., in Rockford.

Eyewitness News spoke with Village Green CEO Jessica Salisbury as staff prepare for an influx of green thumbs.

“It’s imperative to our businesses,” said Salisbury, “Especially this time of year to be open.”

Starting May 1, Illinois garden centers and greenhouses will be allowed to open up to the public once again. But, customers will still need to keep their distance while they shop.

“Any individual over the age of 2 and able to medically tolerate a face covering or mask will be required to wear one when in a public place,” said Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.

“Reopening that door and allowing people back in is a big deal and it’s something that as a business and as a business manager, as a store that we have to take very seriously,” added Salisbury.

Salisbury describes the announcement as a light at the end of the tunnel. April through June sales make up about 70% of Village Green’s yearly revenue and products don’t have a long shelf life.

“There are perishable items and I know Village Green, we supply almost all of our own plants,” said Salisbury. “So, we have plants that we’ve been working on since December or January that we’ve been growing in our stores and we can only keep them around for so long”

Reopening plans are already in the works.

“Marking out all the social distancing,” said Salisbury. “We have vats of cleaning products and sanitizing products.”

Some changes had already been in place.

“We were doing curb side and we even developed an online store that we really didn’t have started before all this,” said Salisbury. “It makes all the difference if you’re able to pick it out yourself and that’s part of the joy that gardening brings people is being able to put all of this together themselves”

Village Green employees will also wear button that will serve as a helpful reminder to shoppers maintain that safe distance while asking for help.

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