The flower industry is made up of several working parts of a chain: farmer/growers → distributors/wholesalers → logistics/trucking → florists /designers → consumers. The entire industry relies on this supply chain in order to flourish and survive. The mandatory shelter-in-place order broke this supply chain.
Under the mandatory shelter-in-place order, flower farmers continued farming their fields, they fall under the protections of agriculture being deemed an essential industry in the State, 80% of US floral product is grown in California on these farms. The flower farmers rely on the wholesalers to operate their distribution channels. Beginning mid-March farmers had nowhere to distribute their product, the flower industry was beginning to dismantle. Without a place to sell the flowers, farmers have no choice but to tragically dump their crops and eventually, because of lack of income, “turn the water off”. We could lose these farms forever and all the people they employ.
With the outbreak of COVID-19 and the global pandemic, the historic San Francisco Flower Market, one of California’s largest wholesale floral distributors, was forced to completely shut down all operations — dump upwards of $750K in flowers, and layoff 90% of our 350+ blue collar workers.
“We watch Amazon trucks deliver non-essential items all over the Bay Area. Restaurants remain open for takeout and delivery; people want to support small business and keep the restaurant industry alive. We are confident that the SF Flower Market can safely reopen for the distribution of wholesale flowers in the Bay Area and help keep the floral industry alive.” Pat Dahlson’s of Mayesh Wholesale, plea to Supervisor Aaron Peskin and Anne Taupier of SF’s OEWD.
Jeanne Boes, General Manager of San Francisco Flower Market stated, “San Francisco is a unique City. Supervisor Peskin and the Mayor’s Office have fought diligently to help this historic market survive more than once. They see the value our market brings to the Bay Area. We are small family-owned and operated businesses. SF is helping to make sure that our supply chain, while drastically altered, remains intact and our US floral industry can survive COVID-19.”
Thankfully the SFFM was given permission from the City of SF to open for distribution April 22, 2020. It will not be business as usual at the SF Flower Market, a strict social distancing policy will be in place. Many of our customers with businesses in the floral industry are getting creative on how they can operate and be safe during this time. “Retail florists are coming up with creative ways to get people flowers with no-contact deliveries”, said Sharla Flock of Bloom Tuesday, in San Francisco.
People may not need flowers to survive, but they have proven positive effects on our happiness and mental health. It is the perfect time to enjoy the beauty of flowers in our world. Mother’s Day is the biggest flower holiday in the US. Remember Mom on May 10th and help us save this incredible industry whose main objective, at its very core, is to spread joy and happiness through flowers.
The San Francisco Flower Mart dates back to the late 1800’s in San Francisco. Local flower growers would bring their products to Lotta’s Fountain in downtown San Francisco and sell on the city streets. The market has relocated four times over the past century but has remained at its current home at Sixth and Brannan Streets since 1956.