It may have only been open for 12 days, but the new Vankleek Hill Tulip Fields kept local business owners smiling, as thousands of visitors descended on the village.
“When it was a nice day over the past two weeks, people just streamed in here,” said Kelsey Campbell, owner of the Broken Kettle Bakery & Barkery on Main Street. “They definitely brought a lot of people into town.”
Down at the tulip farm, owners Mike Block and Sandra Bebbington-Block were kept busy all weekend, even on Sunday and Monday after a major storm rocked the region.
“We’re really happy with the turnout for the weekend and we think it’s just going to keep ballooning – people are really excited about next year,” said Block, who had also heard from a number of local retailers about how they had benefitted from the opening. “I’ve heard from a couple of businesses that have said it’s been so great for the town the past two weekends.”
Block said the owners learned a lot during the first season of being open and are already planning for 2023.
“We have a few ideas for new year, but it’s a growing process,” Block explained.
The one negative for the tulip operation was what turned out to be a very late start to the season. Not only did it mean the site was open for less than two weeks instead of the expected three, but the late start also meant it could not be open for Mother’s Day.
“When you have a weather-dependant business… it’s like if you had a ski hill and it didn’t snow,” Block said.
“Basically from opening to closing we had 12 days.”
Many out-of-town visitors to the tulip farm said they were blown away by the beauty of the location.
Johanne Lecours drove an hour and a half from her home on Montréal’s south shore to pick tulips to take home.
“It was worth the trip,” Lecours said. “It is so beautiful here.”