A message from Laurie Nesbitt, Florists Supply President
At Florists Supply, one of our priorities during this uncertain time is to provide our customers with updates on how COVID-19 is affecting our Company and the floral industry.
Flower Channel Impacts
More flowers are available than needed causing product pricing to decline. Unfortunately, this is counterbalanced by the rising cost of freight caused by dropping volumes for most importers, and the lower availability of freight in the airline industry. The Canadian dollar has also weakened versus the US dollar by approximately nine percent.
Product availability is changing on a regular basis. Sourcing from South America, Canada, Florida, and The Netherlands (if air freight available) remain unaffected. California, New Zealand, Italy, and Asia (orchids) are experiencing disruptions.
Stay connected with your Cut Flower Customer Service Representative (CSR) for updates on what’s available at your nearby Florists Supply. With no special event orders right now, many of our customers have been very flexible on product availability.
Supplies Channel Impacts
One of the largest packaging vendors in the floral industry operates out of Pennsylvania (PA). The state of PA has closed all non-essential businesses, so sourcing from this vendor is unfortunately not possible at this time.
This PA vendor provides products like rolls of patterned paper, waxed tissue, and Kwik Covers.
Based on our current quantities in stock, and diminishing market demand, we should be able to supply these products for the next two to three months. We may run out of a specific pattern or colour, but we should have something to take care of your needs.
Smithers Oasis operates in Ohio. Ohio recently closed all non essential businesses. Smithers Oasis however remains open and operating as they were deemed essential. Smithers has a temperature control division and a bio foam division that service the medical industry. They also have a grower division (plants, flowers) that is deemed to service agriculture.
Government Aid and Deferrals
At federal and provincial government levels, there have been announcements made to assist businesses with navigating through this crisis.
I urge you to stay on top the offerings and take advantage where you can. These include:
- A Federal subsidy to help with wages: $1,375 per employee, up to $25,000 maximum per employer
- Deferrals for businesses on income tax installments and balances due. Federal and provincial taxes are pushed back to August 31, 2020 with no interest or penalties
- The Manitoba government has announced support for small and medium sized retailers, providing businesses with the ability to defer payment of payroll taxes and provincial PST remittance up to $10,000, for 60 days. The Minister noted that they will work with all sized businesses regarding flexible repayment options above the $10,000 cap.
- Alberta Utility payment deferral: Residential, farm and small commercial customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service provider.
If you have a business loan or mortgage, I encourage you to call your bank or credit union to find out what they are willing to do in terms of deferring payments. For example, the Alberta Treasury Branches (ATB Financial) says small business customers can “apply for a payment deferral on loans and lines of credit for up to 6 months, and access additional working capital”.
I watched a recent story on The National over the weekend where some retail banking customers were denied by major banks when they asked if they could defer their personal mortgages. After the story aired, they were all provided 6 months deferral.
We were successful in having the principal on our mortgage payments deferred on a building. The bank was flexible and was offering up to six months; for now, we accepted four months.
The federal government this week hopes to pass legislation to put in place additional relief measures for all those impacted. Hopefully there is some additional good news for employees and employers as the economic hurt grows.
We are thankful for the strong relationships we have with our staff, customers and suppliers at this time as we all work together through this crisis. A further thank you for authorities and healthcare workers who are guiding our society and on the front lines of patient care. Stay safe and remember to practice self-care, both physically and mentally, during this time.