Flower shops still open, but running differently

One big change for the flower shops is they cannot make any deliveries to the hospitals.

Tina Watson arranges a bouquet of flowers Monday, April 20, at Brainerd Floral in Brainerd. Wearing a mask for safety, Watson works in the designing area where she arranges flowers for delivery as well as pickup. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

As a light rain fell outside at 11 a.m. April 20, inside it was another business day within the walls of Brainerd Floral in Brainerd.

The flower shop, which has been in business for more than 50 years, is owned by Marc and Jacque Halverson. The Halversons, along with two employees, were busy going about their day. The owners allowed the Brainerd Dispatch to shadow them for an hour to see how their operation has changed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Marc Halverson, who bought the floral shop from his mother Edith Halverson in 1974, said he has never experienced anything like having to lock his doors to the public. The business has continued to operate, but on a different scale. The Halversons amended the number of hours employees work “a bit to keep things rolling.” The shop has six part-timers and three full time employees. On April 20, the owners and two employees — Tina Watson and Erin Morris — were working.

“We are less busy, it is understandable,” Marc Halverson said. “I feel bad for the students who didn’t get a prom ... and of course graduation, who knows what will happen. There have been a lot of changes.”


Brainerd Floral owner Jacque Halverson waits at the arranging bench Monday, April 20, after spending time in the office of the long time family business. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

One big change for the flower shops is they cannot make any deliveries to the hospitals.

“It’s a tough call when kids call, like ones who are in California, and say Grandma is in the hospital and they want to send flowers,” Halverson said. “We are the lucky ones to tell them we can’t do that for them. We hear tears through the phone. ... It’s tough.”

Flower shops are able to take orders over the phone or online. Flower orders can be delivered or people may pick up their order at curbside.

RELATED: A State of Crisis: 19 Hours in Minnesota

“The no contact delivery is working out nice,” Halverson said. “Today, the bouquets will be wrapped to keep them dry (because of the rain). We call the party ahead of time to tell them that we are in your driveway and have a delivery for you. We knock on their door, step back and set down the bouquet and wait for them to come out and pick it up. This is a safe way to do it and we don’t have to wait for a signature at all.

“Curbside pick up works great, too. Customers call ahead of time and most want to put it on a credit card right there on the spot on the phone so they don’t have to deal with change. We let them know when it will be ready ... and we have them call us when they get in the parking lot and we’ll bring it out to them. It’s very easy and works great.”


Brainerd Floral owner Marc Halverson sorts through flowers in the cooler Monday, April 20, at his long-time family business in Brainerd. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Halverson said there’s never been a time when sending flowers to a loved one has been more important.

“When you take flowers to someone, especially right now, they are so happy to get it,” Halverson said, almost tearing up. “There is something every day. Seeing the smile on their face, saying, ‘Are those for me? Really?’ It means a lot.”

Recently, the flower shop prepared a flower arrangement for a 60th wedding anniversary to be delivered to a couple. Jacque Halverson told her husband the name sounded familiar. They searched an old receipt book from 60 years ago on wedding orders when it was Marc Halverson’s mother’s business at the time. The Halversons learned the flower shop did the flowers for the couple’s wedding and now would be delivering them flowers for their 60th wedding anniversary.

“We took it to her and she said I remember working with your mother,” Marc Halverson said. “It made me feel good, too.”

The flowers cost $40 when the couple was married — much cheaper than in today’s world.

Another big date coming that typically keeps flower shops busy is Mother’s Day. Business owners will have to figure out how much to order to prepare for the day honoring mothers.


Heading out the door to the delivery truck, Erin Morris Monday, April 20, carries a bouquet of flowers created as a birthday gift for a woman at a Brainerd office. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Halverson said there have been some supply issues on certain things and other things have been available when the shop needs them. He said growers have to make decisions on whether they plant another crop or wait for three weeks or even up to six months before starting another crop.

Right now, Halverson said they are busy getting ready to build a temporary greenhouse that will be placed behind the building. The greenhouse will be 75 feet long, 15 feet wide and will be filled with plants to be used for many things, including urns filled with flowering plants at a cemetery grave site. Halverson said they typically sell between 250-280 urns a year.

“We will be planting like mad,” Halverson said.

The Halversons are not only impacted by the coronavirus pandemic as business owners — but also as people.

“Businesswise we will survive,” Halverson said. “We have been here 50 some years. It will hurt, yes, but I worry about (my future as) I want to dance at my granddaughter’s wedding. Will I get sick? Will I not be here? And my wife of 53 years? These are concerns I have about the future.”

A State of Crisis: 19 Hours in Minnesota

This visit to Brainerd Floral was part of a Forum Communications project, “A State of Crisis: 19 Hours in Minnesota,” which sought to explore a snapshot of life during the coronavirus pandemic.


On April 20, more than 50 journalists from Forum Communications, with newspapers all across the state, set out to document life in Minnesota over 19 hours. It is the story of Minnesotans, and how they are muddling through the unknown.

Visit to view the full project, including a timeline of events at Brainerd Floral. This special presentation is best viewed in wide-screen format on a non-mobile screen and may need a moment to load.

JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at or 218-855-5851. Follow me at on Twitter.

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