Cold Weather Sapping Revenue From Nurseries, Landscapers

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - The cold wet spring is washing out a lot of business for landscapers and nurseries in North Idaho, though a few warm days helps heat up business and owners are crossing their fingers the sunshine will last.

This industry is so weather dependent and when you get the kind of weather like what happened Tuesday, starting out nice and then getting poured on, nurseries and landscapers really takes a hit. It's difficult to make up revenue if it all.

"One minute it's windy and wet and the next minute it's nice," gardener Lynn Anderson said. The wind and the clouds are keeping her indoors longer than she would like.

"I just haven't gotten a chance to figure out what I need and just get excited about spending time in the yard and getting warmer."

The blustery weather is also keeping people out of places like Huckleberry Nursery.

"It slows business down considerably," Eric Christen of Huckleberry Nursery said.

Revenue has dropped by around 50-percent this spring in nursery sales. People simply don't like to be outside when it's miserable, but a few rays of sunshine make a huge difference.

"We notice an instant pick up in sales when the weather is warm and sunny," Christen said.

Recent warmer temperatures also help out Cougar Gulch Lawn Care and Landscaping. It lost about a month of revenue in April and is behind schedule.

"When it hits 70 degrees and sunny the phone starts ringing of the hook so that definitely helps," Tony Smith at Cougar Gulch Lawn Care and Landscaping said.

The trick is the sunshine needs to last. These business owners don't want to see bouts of rain showers like this one that drenched Huckleberry Nursery Tuesday afternoon.

Despite some better weather, Huckleberry Nursery won't see a lot of the revenue it lost; neither will Cougar Gulch. In fact, Tony Smith doesn't expect to get any of it back.

"With this business you can't. It's a seven month business and you know you get a late spring like this, it's just lost revenue," Smith said.

"I just hope it gets warmer so I can get out there more," Lynn Anderson said.

The owner of Huckleberry Nursery says it's not too late to plant vegetable gardens and potted plants, adding that soil temperatures are getting warm enough to begin planting.