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K'nees Florists among QC businesses losing out on revenue due to COVID-19 outbreak

In just the last half of March 2020, the flower shop had to cut its staff, and has lost about $20,000 in revenue after closing.

MOLINE, Illinois — K'nees Florists is much emptier now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"The new normal for us is basically we're at half our regular sales," Owner Trisha Engle says. 

She made the decision to temporarily close up the flower shop, after Governor J.B. Pritzker's order to shut down bars and restaurants earlier this month.

"We've seen a change in funerals, which are not happening, and that's about 50 percent of sales," Engle says. "(There are) a lot of standing orders for hotels and bars and restaurants that no longer need flowers, so they're cancelling orders."

With much less business streaming in, Engle made the tough decision to lay off nearly all of her staff, aside from the store's delivery drivers. 

"For march, the average revenue loss is about $20,000," she says. "If we're shut down all of April, that's another $40,000. That's about $10,000 a week that were losing when we're not functioning at a full capacity."

But, in the meantime, Engle is taking her business online -- with a virtual flower arrangement class. 

"It's just the enjoyment of flowers overall," she says. "They bring so much happiness to peoples life, and just being able to do something crafty while you;re stuck at home is a wonderful thing."

The flower shop is still keeping up with online orders, in a safer way with no-contact deliveries.

"We ring the doorbell and leave it on the doorstep so there's no touching or anything involved thats going to possibly get somebody sick, if somebody were to be sick," Engle says. 

The orders and virtual classes are what's keeping business flowing right now.

"People are calling for orders of just 'pick-me-up' flowers," she says. "(Customers say) like 'I want something cheerful because I'm stuck at home,' or 'I want to get my mom something because I can't see her."

Like other businesses, Engle and her staff are looking forward to getting back to business as usual.

"This won't be our normal and we will get through this one day at a time," she says. 

Engle says as long as she still gets flowers from her wholesaler, the flower shop will stay partially open. She says she'll open her doors back up once Governor J.B. Pritzker gives businesses the green light to re-open. 

K'nees Florists plan to hold a virtual class about once a week on Facebook and Instagram, starting at $35.