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Orlando florist hurt by COVID-19 hopes business blooms for Mother’s Day

Bay Hill Florist owner says she lost 95% of her business during coronavirus closure

ORLANDO, Fla. – Mother’s Day weekend is a time when many people purchase flowers for their moms, but an Orlando florist said increased holiday sales may not be enough to help an industry that saw a lot of business disappear during the coronavirus pandemic.

The sounds of customers coming and going are welcomed by Bay Hill Florist owner Carol Newton.

Newton said she opened the doors to her business on Monday for the first time in more than a month. Her store was closed for a week after the statewide stay-at-home order was enforced, but she later reopened her business to offer deliveries only.

Still she said the COVID-19 pandemic is wilting her business. Newton said she lost 95% of her sales.

“We lost an awful lot of business with Disney, Universal, the hotels and restaurants in the area. It was very tough,” Newton said.

She is hoping her business will bloom now that the state is slowly reopening.

Newton said this time of the year is usually busy for her store. With Mother’s Day this weekend, she said she is seeing more customers come into the shop to buy flowers or place orders online and by the phone. But she said she is not sure how long the spike in business will last.

"Mother's Day is always a good holiday for us, for flowers. Yes, we've definitely had an uptick in sales this week," Newton said. "I'm not sure how people are going to feel after Mother's Day. People are taking it very slowly coming back into the community."

Newton said her team is taking extra precautions. She said her staff is wearing masks and practicing social distancing. She said delivery drivers are also offering no-contact deliveries to customers.

William Wilson stopped by the store on Wednesday to purchase flowers for his wife. He said he wanted to support small businesses.

"I'm actually ahead of the curve this year. Normally I would be in Walgreens at 8 o'clock on Saturday, so I figured I would take advantage of the down time and get in and support local businesses and order something for my wife early," Wilson said.

Newton said she is doing what she can to survive.

"We're managing to keep the store going and keep the staff employed and hopefully we'll get through this together," she said.

She said she is waiting with bated baby’s breath for better times to come.

"I think business will remain quiet through the summer and hopefully in the fall, if the virus doesn't come back, things will pick up for all of the local businesses," Newton said.

Newton said customers can place orders online, over the phone by calling 407-226-7122, or in person at the store, which is located at 7784 W. Sand Lake Road in Orlando. She said her drivers will be making deliveries now through Saturday.


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