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Open for Business: Bergenfield's Camberly Gardens planting seeds for post-coronavirus future
BERGENFIELD — Camberly Gardens is the go-to place for gardeners looking for organic solutions.
The retail shop on South Washington Avenue sells organic lobster compost from Maine, starter vegetable plants and perennial hibiscus.
Due to the coronavirus social distancing rules, the store is closed to shoppers, but they can order by phone or by email for delivery, or buy and pick up items outside.
Tenafly resident David Cavilla and his wife, Jackie, also run a successful landscape contracting business that serves eastern Bergen County.
The coronavirus has posed some challenges to the garden center's seasonal retail business, which normally runs with 12 employees during its busiest time, from the middle of March to the end of May.
Despite the retail restrictions, the business has been doing better than expected in certain areas.
"The biggest demand has been in seeds and vegetable garden products. So what we're seeing is a tremendous interest in people trying to develop self-sufficiency and grow vegetables in their own gardens," Cavilla said. "We suspect that's just a direct correlation to people's fear that food might not be in such great supply come summertime."
How has this experience been for you?
Incredibly stressful. It's been stressful because of the uncertainty. The uncertainty in terms of health and how this will affect us. Also, from the governmental end, how this affects us in whether we will lose the ability to work and provide for our families and stay viable as an operation.
Jaclyn Cavilla, of Camberly Gardens is shown with a new order of flowers in their Bergenfield lot. May 14, 2020
What has the community been like?
We have heard a resounding level of appreciation for what we are doing, but more importantly, we might be viewed by the outside world as the bringers of spring. And to many, we were a welcome sight on their properties because of what we represented. We didn't expect that. We look at what we do as hard work, and it's necessary, but we didn't expect the clients to be so happy to see us, and view us as a representation of a break from winter and a little bit of normalcy in their lives.
How are you coping? What changes have you made?
A lot of changes that occurred were changes that may have occurred in the future anyway, but this has certainly sped the process along. On our end, a lot more communication electronically with our crew and with our clients. We staggered start times for workers so that we have a lot less exposure. We've emailed all of our clients to let them know that it's not business as usual, things are taking longer, and we ask for some understanding.
Camberly Gardens Owner, David Cavilla, looks at an order of plants and flowers he received on, Thursday. Cavilla said less than half of what he ordered came in but that is not surprising during the pandemic. May 14, 2020 (Photo: Kevin R. Wexler/NorthJersey.com)
What can the public do to help?
Speaking for all businesses, having some understanding of some of the complexities that businesses have both on the front end and also in the back office. Also, the preparation that goes into setting up your operations so that you can work effectively and safely for the general public. And then the third component, which people are not necessarily aware of, is the logistics and supply chain. In a situation like this ... we are starting to see more and more of that, with materials not being readily available.
Ricardo Kaulessar is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
During the COVID-19 outbreak our Landscape Contracting Division remains open as we are deemed an essential business.
For your safety, the retail shop is only open for phone & email orders which we will deliver directly to you.