In Sweden, garden centres, other stores and restaurants are not closed due to corona. Business keeps on going in the Scandinavian country, says Jan Janssen, buyer from garden centre chain Blomsterlandet.
What kind of restrictions apply in Sweden due to corona?
’In a garden centre less visitors are allowed, in a restaurant you may only sit at a table and be served, but you can’t order a beer at the bar. Our government advises all of this and the Swedish people adhere to it. People work at home; if you have an office job you don’t have to go to your office outside. Universities are closed, which has to do with sources of infection, but primary schools are open. Young children can’t stay at home alone.’
So the Swedish economy keeps on going?
’Yes, and that is very important. But there are major differences with other countries. Sweden is for example six times larger than the Netherlands and has a population of less than 10 million, while there are 17 million Dutch people.’
Spring season started at Blomsterlandet?
’The season is now beginning, I am based in the south of Sweden. Some stores still have winter, in the far north there is still 2.6 m of snow. Our garden centres are simply full of stock. Business is still going, every day. We and our suppliers are happy with that. So far, we don’t have any problem with transport and logistics. There is border control in Denmark, which automatically causes some delay, but it’s not that bad.’
What will be the effect of corona?
’Our turnover will decrease due to corona, but as long as garden centres can remain open and there are not too many restrictions, I’m not afraid of large turnover losses. I see good opportunities in the visual summer trade, because people will postpone holidays, stay in their own country or stay at home. Then they want to brighten up their gardens, terraces and balconies.’
In countries with tight restrictions, orders for plants are cancelled. Do you receive more offers now because Sweden is open?
’Yes, at this moment we receive many offers from abroad. For example, violets for 10 eurocents or less, or blueberry plants for only €1,50. However, we continue to buy from our regular suppliers, not from bargain suppliers. We try to help our regular suppliers as much as we can.’
Photos by Blomsterlandet