Florists face Mother's Day coronavirus quarantine challenges

Digital flower business sees growth amid coronavirus lockdowns

Florists are doing their best to keep business from wilting during the pandemic.

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Flower shops across the country face challenges ahead of Mother’s Day -- one of their busiest holidays of the year -- with limited access to fresh flowers as wholesale growers operate on a smaller scale. Some are providing contactless delivery, but it’s still not making up for lost revenue as a result of nationwide nonessential business closures.

Beck's family-owned florist and garden shop in Jackson, Mich. (Ellen Seydell) 

That’s been the challenge for Beck’s, a family-owned florist and garden shop in Jackson, Mich. Last year at this time the shop had 400 orders, but as of Wednesday it only had 15. Becks was forced to remain closed until last week and estimates it lost $75,000 since Easter including at least 200 orders from the holiday, and hundreds more from canceled weddings, proms and other professional events.

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“Some people still don’t want deliveries at home because of the possibility of contracting the virus,” Ellen Seydell, a part-owner, told Fox Business, adding that they plan to offer non-contact deliveries next week.

A flower arrangement from Beck's Flowers (Courtesy of Ellen Seydell)

“I don’t think it’s going to compare to orders from past years because of the selection,” she added, noting that they can only get basic flowers like daisies, carnations and lilies from wholesalers in Florida and California at the moment.

Beck's is just one of many local florists throughout the country dealing with supply chain issues during a time of year when many are ordering flowers. Last year, 31 percent of Americans reported buying flowers for the occasion.

And down south, some florists have been able to reopen, but they're also facing supply challenges and sluggish demand.

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Despite industry-wide challenges, the digital flower space seems to be blooming. New York-based 1-800 Flowers, which delivers fresh stems and gifts nationwide, on Thursday reported a total revenue increase of 12.2 percent for the first quarter.

The company said it received more than 20 million orders last Mother's Day and said its offering to waive fees on its membership for its wire business and provide a payment plan that lets its florist partners get paid 10 days earlier. It's also allowing partners to be more flexible with bouquets given some supply shortages.

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“Some stems could be in short supply in different geographic regions, so we’ve introduced a One-of-a-Kind Bouquet, which has been a big hit with customers to provide flexibility to local florists – both in design and floral variety,” a spokesperson for 1-800 Flowers said.

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