Burgess's Greenhouse in Hallock, Minn., gets creative with social media videos during pandemic

Darcene Burgess and her family find creative themes to entice and entertain customers.

Darcene Burgess waters flower in her shop, Burgess's Greenhouse. (submitted photo)

A greenhouse in Hallock, Minnesota, is capitalizing on using social media videos to get the word out, and the videos keep evolving into fun ways to keep customers informed.

Business at Burgess's Greenhouse was going well at the greenhouse, before the pandemic changed everything. Without a retail website to sell the houseplants, flowers and seedlings for garden vegetables, social media videos became a way to showcase the plants, and customers have responded to the format. The live videos are shown on Facebook on Fridays.

“It's going fine so far,” said Darcene Burgess, who owns the shop with her husband, Chris. “It's just kind of going to be the new normal, how we’re going to do it.”

The videos, now in their fourth week, have had a few hiccups here and there. In one recent video, Darcene Burgess' phone overheated and shut down. She had to cool it off with a fan before continuing. She also had to get over a case of nerves.

“It's totally out of my comfort zone to get on and talk in front of a group,” Burgess said.


The videos showcase the plants and other decorative and gardening items. Burgess numbers them, and viewers comment on what they want. The first person to do so, gets the item. Staff prepare an invoice, and customers can pay by credit card. The shop offers curbside pickup.

The Burgesses have two children, a son and daughter, in high school who help on occasion when they aren’t in online school. Another part-time employee is also in high school. Burgess credits them in helping the videos evolve into something more interesting.

Burgess takes the videos and describes the items, while the girls show them.

“We were joking in the first couple weeks that they were like my Vanna Whites,” she said.

The Burgesses live in Cavalier, N.D. Last weekend was supposed to be prom, but the pandemic took care of that. It became an opportunity to make a fun video.

“We dressed them up in old prom dresses when they were showing the stuff,” Burgess said.

The girls are now coming up with their own ideas for the live videos.


“This week, they're starting to do their own planning; they’re doing a costume theme, like Onesie costumes, Burgess said.

Not all sales are done through the videos. Greenhouses are considered essential businesses in Minnesota, so Burgess could be open. She’s choosing to be careful and limit the people who come into the shop by appointment only. She’s also considering early hours for senior citizens, who may not be interested in video sales.

Normally the shop would be open for open houses and spring sales, but that can’t happen this year. Still, Burgess said the demand for her products is high right now. People are looking for a hobby or something to do while they stay home. And a fun video goes a long way toward helping that happen.

“You know what, people are looking for fun,” Burgess said.

Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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