APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — When Governor Tim Walz extended Minnesota’s Stay-At-Home order, he made landscaping companies and garden centers officially “essential” services.

So Saturday, many garden centers all over the state opened their doors for the first time since the Stay-At-Home order was put in place. Pahl’s Market in Apple Valley is one of those garden centers.

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“This is my favorite time of the year. The joy on people’s faces, it’s something you can’t explain. The fact that I couldn’t see it until today, you get emotional, but it’s going to be fun to see that interaction now,” General Manager Jack Pahl said.

The company has been doing everything it can to keep its employees and its customers safe. They are sterilizing all carts, setting up one-way traffic inside with arrows on the ground, employees wear masks and they started a new online ordering system with a drive through pick up.

But, now that people can actually shopping again, it’s a major game-changer.

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“I don’t think too many people like to shop online for flowers. We buy with our eyes, we always have as consumers, but especially with plants. Everyone has their own, you could have a thousand plants looks the exact same and one person finds the beauty in that one plant,” Pahl said.

Just ask Courtney White: “That’s part of the process. Looking at all of [the flowers] and spending all this time picking out just the right one. Even though it doesn’t matter,” White said.

She’s an avid gardener and loves that she can shop again.

“The CEO of Bachmann’s said once, and it’s true ‘plants don’t need people, people need plants’. It’s the emotional lift. That I think we are all craving right now!” White said.

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Pahls will be opening just for its senior citizen customers on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-10am start this Tuesday, April 14th.

Katie Steiner