.Local Nursery Sees Uptick in Business During Pandemic

With the Covid-19 pandemic, most of us heard this warning many times: Stay at home. That perhaps could have been softened a little bit with: “Stay at home and in the garden.”

Because, for many of us, that’s what happened: People started plowing deep into their gardens and landscaping with the ample time around the house on their hands.

“March through May was definitely a busier time for us, with the Covid scare,” said Dora Beyer, whose family owns Alladin Nursery and Gift Shop in Corralitos. “But then came the fires and smoke and that drove people back indoors again.”

Beyer said her business has seen a big uptick in demand for vegetables for the garden, indoor plants, landscaping makeovers and garden ornaments.

Alladin Nursery and Gift Shop is a retail nursery and gift shop with plants and garden supplies for every need. The nursery features plants, cacti and succulents, fruits, flowers and trees that range from traditional favorites to more rare varieties, as well as a wide selection of tools, garden supplies, and pottery for the avid gardener. 

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“Even for people that don’t have a yard, indoor plants—even bonsais—and succulents have picked up,” Beyer said. “There’s been a step up in demand for a whole range of things. People are really going after tomatoes and basil. Every day people are calling. But folks were also buying things like maple trees—decorative things for the yard and things to add to their arbor. People have also been asking for milkweed because it brings the monarch butterflies.”

But with Covid-19 came a change in some product supply. 

“Some of our suppliers shifted priorities with things like potting soil, certain steer manure and chicken manure out of production for a while,” she said. “For the most part, we do continue to offer most of our inventory.”

Aladdin just celebrated 100 years and with that comes a list of regulars, which, Beyer said, helps keep business alive.

“We are fortunate that our customers are very patient,” Beyer said. “We closed for about a week back in March. We reopened since and made some big safety adjustments, like requiring people to wear a mask, keep six feet distance and we adjusted our hours. Our checkout is outdoors and the gift shop is limited to three people. But we have people come here all the way from Sacramento; they come to see family and make it a point to come by. They come from San Francisco. I think it’s word of mouth. We’re local; Watsonville’s a great place for businesses like this.”

Beyer said many in the senior community tell her that gardening has become their “therapy.”

“Some elderly people have told me that this is their first time to come out,” she said. “For those that are extra cautious, we do offer curbside service; we’ll bring your order out to your car.”

Beyer said her father and owner, Gustavo Beyer, above all, wants customers to feel safe and comfortable with the adjustments to the pandemic.

“We’ve been through floods, an earthquake, drought, fires, an economic recession and now the pandemic,” Beyer said. “But we’re still here. We’re just glad to be able to do our job and make sure people feel safe.”

Alladin Nursery and Gift Shop is located at 2905 Freedom Blvd. in Corralitos. It is open Thursday through Monday from 9am to 3pm. For information call 724-7517 or visit alladinnursery.com.


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Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.
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