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Flower tents making comeback after COVID-19 crisis

A business based in Luzerne County says they are in between two extremes: being shut down and working overtime to meet demand.

FORTY FORT, Pa. — Marie Sovan of Pittston is thrilled to be browsing potted plants at the flower tent off Wyoming Avenue in Forty Fort. She says the display all in bloom was a sight for sore eyes.

"I was so excited because I need to get my plants and get my garden done. It's very exciting to see them in business and all the beautiful stuff."

Owner Tom Ansilio says even though the flower tents in our area were allowed to open Mother's Day Weekend, the health crisis hit the business hard.

"75 percent of our franchisees were not able to open this year, so it did cut heavily into our bottom line," Ansilio said.

"It was very unfortunate with Easter, so it's exciting now, and I am so thankful to have such a large selection for our customers," said manager Haley Rimmer.

Rimmer says the crisis will impact selection, making some flowers harder to get. But customers have been understanding about that and the new COVID-19 guidelines.

"It makes me happy to see all these plants alive and beautiful," Sovan said.

The owners of the flower tent tell Newswatch 16 even though the COVID-19 crisis hurt their bottom line overall, it has introduced them to a whole new customer base.

"We have so many new faces this year, new customers who have never gardened before are all out gardening right now and loving it!" said Ansilio.

"We're offering them vegetables and stuff like that. There's a lot of questions, a lot of new questions, so we just stay on top of it and do our best to serve them," Rimmer added.

Although gardens are usually started in May, folks at the flower tent say t's not too late to bring some of this color home.