As coronavirus ravaged the prom and wedding seasons, florists found they had to adapt to survive

click to enlarge The pandemic hit flower shops at a time when they would normally be slammed with business for prom and graduation celebrations.
The pandemic hit flower shops at a time when they would normally be slammed with business for prom and graduation celebrations.

Spring is a season full of celebrations. Prom, graduation and weddings all mark the start to summer, and flowers play a huge role in making these ceremonies and parties memorable.

With the pandemic causing in-person events for spring to be canceled, local florists had to adjust to running a business without depending on the income from graduations and weddings. Luckily, curbside pickup and delivery options have made many florists able to adapt along the way.

Rose and Blossom, run by Terri O'Connor for the last 28 years, recently moved to a new location in the Spokane Valley. She says in a typical wedding season Rose and Blossom would cater to 250 or more weddings. The pandemic has pushed all the late-spring weddings until at least September or October, and this definitely put a dent in typical flower sales.

"I'm not putting too many eggs in my basket for this year," O'Connor says, but she also acknowledges how their everyday floral designs will be an important component in pulling them through this season. One of the best ways for customers to support local florists, O'Connor says, is to spread the word about businesses you like, including by writing reviews online.

North Spokane floral and gift shop Ritters has also been offering curbside pickup and delivery. Kirsten Wyman, the head of Ritters' social media accounts, has been working hard to promote every plant the company receives and show a deeper look into the plant company's daily orders. They also worked to get more creative with their online sales. With sales dipping dramatically this spring for fresh-cut flowers, Ritters decided to close its fresh-cut flower shop for good; however, it kept open all other aspects of its business. "It wasn't an easy decision by any means, but it's a perishable item," says Denice Thompson, the company's manager. The pandemic has ultimately brought unpredictability to the forefront of many businesses and, Thompson says, "the unknown is the scariest part."

Florists in Coeur d'Alene faced a change of pace this spring season, too. Katrina Jaeger, manager of Hansen's Florist and Gifts, says despite the cancellation of graduations and proms, the family-owned shop has seen an overwhelming amount of positivity and support from customers. As the company made porch drops part of its delivery service,  Jaeger points out how the world needed flowers to make people happy, especially at a time like this. Despite struggling to get flowers in on time and kept fresh, this flower shop has seen positives from the pandemic along with the challenges. ♦

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