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SPECIAL REPORT: COVID-19, florists, and cake vendors

SPECIAL REPORT: COVID-19, florists, and cake vendors

Having to adjust the business model seems to be the name of the game for 2020 when it comes to saying ‘I do.’

The Knot and Wedding Wire recently surveyed 527 couples.

For those with an upcoming 2020 date:

-64% said they plan to have a guest count that is 25% lower than their original list

-71% responded say they will incorporate health and safety measures

Nancy Zimmerman has dealt with a change in itinerary.

She runs fancy Florals by Nancy in Fairbury. "I’ve always loved flowers and when we lived in the country on the farm I had tons of flower beds and I was always bringing in fresh flowers and making bouquets and then I was at a point in my career where I was sort of in between jobs," said Zimmerman.

She decided to make a business out of her hobby.

"So last year I think I was booked every weekend through wedding season except I had two weeks off in August."

The coronavirus pandemic changed everyone’s plans for the year and that left Zimmerman’s schedule open.

She added, "We sort of got used to it in stages. Every time a bride called to cancel or postpone it’s like you feel bad for them and of course they’re looking for a new date to rebook and they’re working with all of their vendors."

She has always required a minimum deposit of $2,500, but she lowered it to $500 to accommodate for smaller weddings some couples are having.

"Right away when this happened I decided I wanted to treat my brides the way I would want to be treated." She told them if they found a new date she would od wahtever she could to make that work for her and their deposit would roll over.If there was no way she could make it work, she would give back most of the money the couple put down.Zimmerman has lost thousands of dollars during the pandemic, but she never thought about ending her business."I just love it. I really enjoy working with the brides and just sort of being not busy for a couple months while everyone was shut down and that was really hard on me."Zimmerman isn’t the only vendor who has taken a loss.Jeff and Martha Huebner own Trefzger’s Bakery in Peoria Heights.He said they were considered a grocery store, so they were able to stay open during the shut down.The bakery was open for two weeks after Saint Patrick’s Day, but sales dropped to less than a third of what they normally are."It was a hard decision to make, but we thought o we’ll only be shut down for only a couple of weeks and then we’ll be back open again and then we saw what happened," said Jeff Huebner. Rent and loan payments were deferred for a few months.During that time the bakery made about 6 wedding cakes, but that wasn’t much for decorators who usually do around 12 for one weekend."We would normally be doing 3 or 4-tierred wedding cakes and now we’re doing these […]

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