Illinois garden centers and greenhouses reopen Friday

There is some good news for green thumbs across the state of Illinois.

Starting Friday, garden centers and nurseries will finally be able to open their doors thanks to an easing of COVID-19 restrictions by Governor JB Pritzker, and it comes at a time when more people than ever are looking to grow their own food.

It may have been a gloomy, rainy day outside Wednesday, but spring has sprung in the Chicago area.

Bright colors and sweet fragrance filled the greenhouse at the Lurvey Garden Center in Des Plaines, which is preparing to emerge from the pandemic shut down on Friday.

“I love it because I like the stores. I’ve been bored. I love this. For me, I live for this,” said customer Lynn Torg.

“It’s been five or six weeks of doing business in a whole different way,” said Lurvey Garden Center store manager Scott Goczkowski.

Goczkowski says they tried to make a go of it with curbside service and delivery. But in the nursery business, that has its limits.

“Because people want to see it. They want to touch it. They want to feel it,” Goczkowski said.

Some prominent garden centers like Gethsemane in Edgewater never even bothered to open their doors. But that changes on Friday when customers will be allowed inside greenhouses and sales yards with proper social distancing and masks.

“We should be ready. We should be good to go,” said Goczkowski.

There’s also been a huge run on garden seeds this spring. People are buying carrots, green beans and tomatoes, as they try to become more self-sufficient during the pandemic.

“It was nice having fresh produce in the past and fresh berries and things like that. Now it’s like we might actually need this,” said gardener Lee Rumpel.

“Cause we can’t find some of the produce at the store we used to. We don’t know if there will be a supply issue over the summer,” said Deb Rumpel.