Over the past year, there have been multiple reports on businesses like cleaning services, package stores, and delivery services booming during the pandemic.
But there's another business taking off in Connecticut; seasonal palm trees.
Brandon Hall has a greenhouse full of palm trees in Cheshire. He started CT Palm Trees and Tropicals five years ago after he bought a couple of palm trees for his patio, which quickly caught the attention of his neighbors.
The business was steadily growing until last year when Hall says it suddenly exploded.
“Last year, obviously, because of Covid, and a lot of people being forced -- owners being forced at the last second, to have makeshift outdoor dining areas, which weren't necessarily super attractive, we got a ton of requests," Hall said.
By March of this year, Hall says they already had as many orders as they got all of last summer. The sudden jump in business meant looking to Florida to keep up with the growing demand.
“We're going to start with two or three full semi-trucks right from Miami. That'll basically take us through the first few weeks of May to fulfill those orders, and we'll keep going from there," Hall said.
Hall says he expects to place between 600 and 700 palm trees around the area this year.
Some of those trees will go to Woodbridge, where New England Brewing Company has expanded their outdoor seating.
Company owner and CEO Rob Leonard says he's rented palm trees before and is looking forward once again to transforming their surroundings.
“People love to be outside," said Leonard, a longtime New Haven area brewer. "I mean, with the palm trees and the added stuff, you kind of forget. I don't think they think they're in Hawaii, but they don't think they're in a parking lot."
So, while the transformation may not quite be 'parking lot to paradise,' Brandon Hall says he thinks the al fresco vibe in Connecticut won't end with the pandemic.
“I think once you get a taste of the tropical vibe every summer, you look forward to it in these cold, long, winters, so I think it's definitely going to be here to stay," Hall said.