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Online sales, delivery keep flower farm blooming amid coronavirus

Online sales, delivery keep flower farm blooming amid coronavirus

Gretel and Steve Adams, owners of Sunny Meadows Flower Farm [Rob Hardin/Columbus CEO] Hide caption By Amy Braunschweiger For Columbus CEO

Like many others, the owners of Sunny Meadows Flower Farm were worried when the coronavirus pandemic struck. But online sales and delivery to grocery stores have kept the business going.

COVID-19 crushed the national and international flower markets as businesses and borders were closed, and weddings and other events were canceled. But Sunny Meadows Flower Farm on the South Side, owned by Gretel and Steve Adams, kept pace. Gretel Adams spoke with Columbus CEO about the changes they made to reach one key market that still wanted flowers — people stuck at home.

Q: What did spring look like for you this year?

A: We entered this COVID-19 spring with dread. Florists were shut down, events were canceled, and (flower) wholesalers were shut down. Weddings were also canceled. Typically, florists and wholesalers are 50% of our business. We laid off some staff.

We worried: If people lose their jobs and they don’t have money, are they going to buy flowers?

Q: How did you change your business model to reach new customers?

A: We’re lucky — we were already set up for online sales to florists and had shipping. Because we had that platform, we were more ready to make the necessary pivot to make online sales happen and to expand shipping to retail, or non-florist, customers as well.

We created new products, coming up with a “Grower’s Choice” box for florists and sold it online. Florists could choose the color family, but outside of that, it had to be what we had the time and staff to get harvested and into a box. It was a success, so we created a “Spring at Your Door” subscription, where people get flowers delivered to their door every week for six weeks and followed that up with a peony subscription. Usually, all of our peonies would be used for weddings.

Address: 3555 Watkins Road, Columbus 43232 (not open to the public)

Business: Grower of seasonal cut flowers and wedding floral designer.

Founded: 2007

Owners: Gretel and Steve Adams Acres farmed: Between 16 and 20 Revenue: $716,000 in 2019These retail shipping boxes were what helped us make it through. They made up for the orders — weddings, showers, graduations — we normally have during the spring. Q: Mother’s Day is the biggest flower sale weekend of the year for many in the business. How did you do? A: Mother’s Day was crazy, so that was a good problem to have. Sales were under what we projected by about $300, so not bad compared to what we thought was going to happen when COVID started. The chaos came from it being all new systems and mostly shipping. We also had to buy a lot of supplies to get all those orders out the door. Q: How are grocery store and farmers markets sales going? A: We built our business originally selling […]

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