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UNITED STATES TODAY
After a drop in demand in the first days of Texas’ coronavirus response, Jason Ramirez is resuming business as usual.
Ramirez, owner of The Honey Do Service of Abilene since 2015, said his business renovation projects continued throughout the pandemic, but with additional health-conscious measures.
âIn the last two weeks it’s picked up,â Ramirez said in mid-May. “We actually went back to a more normal pace, scheduling four to five estimates per day.”
Honey still in use
Governor Greg Abbott released a statewide social distancing policy on March 31. It was around this time that Honey Do Service saw a decline in business inquiries.
âWhen it all started, (business) kinda slowed down a bit. It wasn’t very noticeable,â Ramirez said. âWhen we quarantined it statewide, we really started to see an effect. It went from about five leads a day to one. It stayed that way until we let’s open (the state) again. “
As a core business, Honey Do Service has remained open. Their office was closed to the public for a few weeks but reopened. Staff now wear masks inside the building.
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Ramirez said the initial lack of leads had slowed business during the pandemic, with others choosing to delay planned projects.
“It was more of the leads, people who weren’t calling,” he said. âI had a few people who wanted to postpone their work. Their reasoning was because it was better to be safe than sorry. They were just postponing it until they understood what was going on with the virus and how it was going. pass .”
The pandemic has moved Honey Do Service to contactless estimates. Workers also began to wear masks and gloves and disinfect themselves after the work was completed.
More time for projects
Ramirez said the most popular services are tile remodeling, drywall repair, and painting. Honey Do Service jobs are typically split between commercial and residential, but Ramirez said residential inquiries are on the rise.
While people have decided to tackle home improvement projects on their own due to the increase in free time, Ramirez knows there is always a place for Honey Do Service.
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“I think there are more people who take on the tasks themselves. I think there are still a lot of people who are unable to take on such a task,” said Ramirez. “I know a lot of people, while they were in quarantine they were doing more landscaping type things.”
The local gardening scene has reaped the rewards.
Store manager Jon Santiago said Mankin and Sons Gardens has remained busy, even during the implementation of social distancing guidelines.
âWith us selling this stuff, we were seen as a core business,â Santiago said. âWe were open throughout the process. The first week or two weeks it just slowed down like everyone else. We took a hit. But then it was only slowly (construction). You could just see.
“People were staying at home and getting bored. We just hope this continues and everyone has better gardens. Hope this ends up being a good thing for everyone.”
Beginner gardeners are emerging
BJ Mankin, who has worked in the family garden center for 22 years, said vegetable seeds were the biggest sellers. It only remains to wait for the rains.
âWe have been open from the start,â Mankin said. âWe sell a lot of vegetables, tomatoes and peppers. Because we are horticulturalists, we have been busy from the beginning until now. It started to slow down a bit because we need rain. good. We just need a lot of rain now.
Even novice gardeners are getting into growing vegetables. Mankin also attributed their newfound interest to more time spent at home.
âThere have been a lot of new gardeners who never got around to doing it,â he said, âbecause it takes a long time to do it, a lot of patience.â
Santiago said the increase in the number of new producers has kept sales fairly normal.
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âI would say between 25 and 30 percent of what is happening now are brand new gardeners. A quarter of our business is brand new,â he said. âWe’re used to seeing the same peopleâ¦ Our numbers aren’t actually that far off last year. Our tree sales are down, but our gardening stuff – all the little 4 inches ( plants) for all gardening beds and everything – is between five and ten times the amount we’ve sold this year.
âOur numbers stay pretty much the same, but we’re replacing the little litter and gardening stuff for our big trees. A new gardener isn’t going to spend $ 2,000 on a brand new tree if he doesn’t know how to go about it. occupy. a small 4 inch plant. “
Mankin and Sons had adopted similar policies regarding gloves and sanitation in its store. The installation has three areas: the interior, the overhang and the greenhouse. Santiago said he tried to limit each area to fewer than 10 people at a time.
Mankin and Sons also offers landscaping and lawn care services. BJ Mankin said most clients stay indoors during the interview, providing appropriate social distancing.
It’s been a typical few months, but the business has progressed under the new standard.
â(Business) has been very strong,â Mankin said. “It was a little crazy.”