Dear All of You,
No one can deny that 2020 has been one of the strangest years anyone can remember, and today as the year draws to a close we want to say thanks, and simply let you know that we could not have made it without you. We all hope 2021 will be better.
After the beautiful rain season of 2019-2020 the spring months looked like we had hit the jackpot. Flowers everywhere, a late season gully washer in March, and the wonderful optimism common to all real gardeners, we stood ready to take on the year with as much passion and enthusiasm as ever. Here at TOLN, we had brought on more than a few new team members (affectionately known as Tree of Lifers), each of whom brought new ideas and their eager desire to continue their learning, both on the history of our nursery and on the fine art of native plant horticulture. Our propagation and transplanting from the previous fall had guaranteed abundant availability for spring, and we were going to hit the ground running. Our Saturday morning workshop schedule was set through May and even Dakota the Nursery Dog was in an exceptionally good mood.
Then Covid hit.
Like everyone, especially every small business, we had to find our footing and forge a new path forward. And you helped us. Thanks again.
We immediately researched and established all the safety and sanitary protocols as directed by the CDC. We found that some of our team members were able to work from home. We staggered our hours for office staff and made adjustments in the workplace for our outdoor plant production staff. We were able to keep Casa La Paz open with only slightly reduced hours, since it is a safe outdoor area for plant sales to the general public. You and every one of our customers have been inspirational with your cheerful adherence to all the Covid rules we are now becoming so used to.
Saturday workshops went digital. We currently have close to 1000 YouTube subscribers and we are able to reach hundreds of people on the live feed and thousands more on our archived workshops.
Wholesale sales held steady. Thanks again to all the planners, architects, designers and contractors who continue to use native plants and continue to depend on TOLN to supply your jobs.
Our landscape garden design/build department fielded more inquiries than ever. It seems a lot of the stay-at-home folks decided to take advantage of the strange moment and dive headlong into home improvement projects. Thanks for keeping us busy.
We started a robust on-line sales department and we are continually adding new merchandise and service features for your convenience. We’re open to suggestions for improvement and thanks for your patience. This roll out has been a long time coming, and we’re trying to get it right. We’re not that company named after the big river in South America, so we appreciate our customers who believe in shop local, shop small.
A special thanks to all of you who have visited us at Casa La Paz, whether one time or regularly. One huge effect Covid-19 has had all over the country (the world?) is that of sparking a deep desire in people to connect or reconnect to nature. Since this has been our focus for our nearly 40 years in business, it is so good to see a new generation of families adopt these principles.
At TOLN this year we entered into a joint venture with South Coast Farms so they could produce organic produce on our land. They ran a super popular You-Pick strawberry program, again with all the Covid protocols. People loved getting outside, picking their own berries, bonding as family, and posting on social media.
At Casa La Paz, we complimented the farm experience this year by opening La Finca, our picturesque section of the retail area where organically grown vegetable plants are made available to you who want to combine natives and veggies. This is especially important for maintaining an intimate connection with your garden, and for attracting insects and pollinators beneficial to the vegetable plants.
YOU have made 2020 a very unique year for us. We hope to use the experiences of last year, and apply what we have learned to everything we do from here forward. That people and relationships are the most important things in the world of “business.” That passion is the driving force for an organization to produce a quality product or service. That humility goes a long way, as we are all learning new things about everything all the time. And that sincere gratitude sums up all of the above.
Looking forward to seeing you soon. Keep in touch. Thanks again.
And a heartfelt Happy New Year!
Mike Evans and Jeff Bohn
On behalf of the Entire Tree of Life Team