MONTAGUE, Mich. — In April, Ryan Weesies and his employees are usually planning projects, mowing, mulching and fertilizing. But this is a tough time for his landscaping business, Weesies Brothers. Landscaping is considered non-essential work and all the machines and supplies sit idle.
“The guys aren’t working landscaping,” said Weesies, the owner. “None of our designers are out. Basically, it’s me in the office taking a few phone calls, and easing people’s mind we will be out there as soon as we can.”
As soon as he can, is something his company is relying on. Weesies Brothers has been in the family for four generations, and he hopes he’s not the one to see it end for good.
“If the shut down keeps going and we don’t have any money coming in. It’ll be real hard on us and on our employees,” said Weesies. "We hate to see our employees suffer like this. It’s going to be tough. I don’t know any other way to put it. I don’t know, there’s a lot of unknowns right now."
Usually, this time of year Weesies said he’s hiring people for the season. Instead, there are layoffs. His usual crew of 40 people is down to himself and two others doing maintenance.
A large amount of their work is done in the spring, and major projects start now as well. All of that is put on hold at the moment.
The other half of the business is greenhouse, which is also closed during the shutdown.
“It’s pretty detrimental,” said Weesies, “We can’t get out there and install the plants and we can’t sell them either.”
He said many people have called and cancelled or rescheduled projects. So, he’s concerned when things open back up, there still won’t be the business.
“The phone is just ringing off the hook when we have days like yesterday,” said Weesies, “that are 65 and sunny, and it makes everyone anxious to get out in their yards.”
He wants everyone to be safe and healthy, but wishes the Governor and lawmakers would ease restrictions on landscapers and greenhouses. He said they would do everything they could to work within social distancing. He said the nature of the business allows for distancing naturally.
“When our guys go out, it’s sometimes a crew of one,” said Weesies, “like our fertilizer guy is just a guy and a truck, just by himself. Our mow guys can go less guys, anything to help out with social distancing is very easy to do for us.”
He said if companies like his miss the month of May, not many will survive.
“If she were to open that up for us,” said Weesies, “It could be the difference of saving businesses out there.”
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