Business at Eagle Rock and Silver Lake flower shops continue to bloom amid pandemic
A New Year – A New Hope?
Small businesses have struggled during the pandemic, but pivoting or rearranging a business model doesn’t mean automatic success. What lessons have you learned? What makes you hopeful for 2021? Let me know — and we can share your story!
— Brenda Rees, Biz Buzz Editor
Contact me at brenda@TheEastsiderLA.com Florists take on a new pandemic role
“It’s a bittersweet time for us,” admits Gustavo Robles, owner of Psychopompos Floral in Silver Lake. He’s talking about about the recent uptick in creating condolence arrangements as well as gifts for birthdays and other milestones to recipients who can’t be physically seen because of the pandemic.
Like many other small floral shops, Robles’ business has been fueled by people wanting to send cheer, to express sympathy and to convey a good old fashion “Just Thinking of You” message to loved ones who are shut in.
Overall, however, the pandemic took a heavy toll on the florist business last year.
According to a recent report by IBIS World , “the pandemic is expected to generate the florist industry’s largest single-year revenue contraction in recent history” due in part to social distancing guidelines that is hampering revenue from wedding services and funeral homes.
Overall, the industry in the United States has a combined yearly revenue of over $5 billion which is spread across around 15,000 retail flower shops. It’s a highly fragmented industry; the 50 biggest floral companies (FTD, Teleflora, etc.) only make up 10 percent of the revenue – people often turn to the convenience of supermarket chain stores, the biggest competitor to small mom and pop shops.
Customer interaction and personalized attention may give shops like Robles’ the sensitive edge.
“Talking to a florist it can be emotional for many people,” says Robles about responding to family members and friends who may have lost a loved one or who haven’t seen their loved one face-to-face in months. “I say, ‘Tell me about this person, what are they like? What do they enjoy?’ I tell them ‘We’ll get through this!’ and we often end up laughing.”
Robles often suggests customers include one living plant – often a succulent or an herb – so recipients will have a living plant as a memory of the gift. On the average, people spend about $100 on his custom artful arrangements. Customer sympathy
“Sending a floral arrangement is reaching out to someone in a special way, it’s like receiving a very personal letter,” says Art Bacilio, co-owner of My Blooming Business in Eagle Rock.When the pandemic initially shut down the business, Bacilio had a lot of orders to fill – birthday and anniversary wishes. He worried that customers would just cancel. “”We have a lot of beautiful customers who understood and were sympathetic,” he says.Bacilio runs the shop with his mother, Zoila, who started the business 12 years ago designing handcrafted arrangements – mostly for weddings – from her Sunland garage. The shop has gained a steady following since it moved to this storefront nine years […]