Garden Centers throughout the country were closed for a season in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and California. Governor Ducey declared garden centers essential in April because so many gardeners rely on them for vegetable seed, herbal starts, and fruit trees. Watters Garden Center was allowed to remain open under stringent guidelines. Ken Lain says, “We weren’t sure how the governor or Prescott Mayor Mengarelli would govern back then. We really pushed to put our garden center online digitally.”
COVID-19 lock downs caused many to reevaluate what is important in life. As citizens sheltered in-home, they reconnected with the backyard, gardening, and the fresh air Arizona is famous for. Garden Centers across the country saw increases of 20-30% this spring. “Our crops of vegetable, herb, even flowers were gone weeks before normal,” says Lisa Watters-Lain, owner of Watters Garden Center. “Seed is still in short supply from last spring.”
Top10Plants.com was born out of this clamor back to the garden. “We have been digitizing our plants at the garden center since spring. It’s been a lot of work so local gardeners can see what we have at Watters in real-time,” Cheryl Christian, Watters digital store manager. The increased number of gardeners wanting plants in Yavapai county has been twice the national average. “We could barely keep up with in-store demand. The phone was ringing off the hook with plant questions and curbside pickup, we just didn’t have enough horticulturalists to help everyone,” says Ken Lain, owner of Watters Garden Center. “That’s when we decided to throw all our resources into a digital solution.”
90% of the plants found physically at Watters Garden Center can now be found online at Top10Plants.com. “We organized plants like we do here at Watters physical nursery, just like gardeners shop for plants, with easy to navigate groupings,” says Lisa Watters-Lain. “You can buy these plants online and have your gardener pick them up the next day or have us deliver and plant them for you. We also wanted this new digital store to be a research tool that helps gardeners explore local plant possibilities.”
Dozens of plant orders have been made. “We love helping locals in person and believe a hybrid approach between online research and sales, with in-store personal help is the future for Brick-and-Mortar stores. COVID simply moved our target date of Top10Plants.com ahead of schedule by at least two years.” say owners Ken and Lisa Lain. Watch the owners’ YouTube video explaining their digital COVID response.
Watters Garden Center is a locally owned and operated garden center that specializes in providing avid gardeners and novices alike with the expertise and products to get things growing in the mountains of Arizona.