Carpinteria-based orchid grower Westerlay Orchids shipped over 181,000 plants this week to its wholesale customers — many of which placed large orders ahead of Mother’s Day.
The grower’s orchids are sold in most grocery stores locally, and Westerlay has a retail location of its own as well.
But it’s not just this week that has been abundant. It’s been a record year, director of sales Jeff Karpman told the News-Press.
“The demand is just really high, and as a company we have been ramping up production,” he said.
Demand has increased “well over 30%” since August of last year. And luckily, Westerlay had the supply.
Before the pandemic hit, Westerlay’s staff increased its production. It takes 18 months for the orchids to grow, making the company’s timing perfect.
Mr. Karpman attributes the demand to pandemic budgeting, shifting funds away from going out and investing more in home.
“People want to make their home environment as beautiful and as warm and exciting as possible,” he said.
Even when restrictions were tighter locally, Westerlay’s storefront had traffic coming through. Customers also spent more than they did previously.
Westerlay’s leaders are considering some expansion plans long-term. For now, Mr. Karpman says they plan to boost next year’s quota from 3.9 million plants to 4.1 million plants.