Coronavirus Causing Flower Cancellations
You’ve had this event on the calendar for almost a year now. One of dozens you’ll produce this year, the final meetings and last payments were made weeks ago. You’ve scheduled staff for design and setup, your hardgoods are onsite and prepped. Your recipes are finalized, your flower lists have been created, and your local wholesaler has your order in with their buyers. Standard operating procedure, right?
Normally, yes! Normally you’d be the consummate event professional. But in 2020, things have changed. We must change and adapt along with them as special events, weddings and proms are abruptly cancelled in the wake of COVID19. Now that the special event has been postponed, and your blooms are already in house… now what?
We posed this question to Renee Tucci AIFD of Chalfont, PA, who recently partnered with a pair of local event designers and their local wholesaler to create an incredible, immersive floral installation in their downtown area. Katie Robinson, owner of DFW Event Design in Bensalem, PA and Kerry Fabrizio, owner of Fabufloras in Horsham, PA both realized that they had stems of flowers in their coolers with no events to grace. Once they’d teamed up, they very wisely reached out to two local wholesalers, DVFlora and Pennock Floral to see if they happened to have fresh product that was about to be discarded that they wanted to send over. Sure enough, at 11am on March 18th, three trucks full of flowers showed up at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia.
In Renee’s own words “A team of seven designers got to work dividing the product between that which was to be used to beautify the park, and that which could be taken home by passers-by. You wouldn’t believe how quickly hundreds of stems of flowers disappear when folks are told, “Take them, enjoy them, they’re free”!
People who received these blooms were so incredibly thankful. To see the faces of people as they rounded the corner and saw the park literally blooming in front of their eyes, well it brought unexpected happiness to their day and joy to their faces that is simply hard to describe in words. Some were brought to tears of joy, while others immediately got on the phone to face-time with friends and family to show them what was happening in the square. Folks of all ages came around, including local construction workers and people who were fighting cabin-fever with their children.”
If your shop is still operating, the required social distancing will be tough to maintain in a tight design room. Thankfully our industry tends to cross-train employees more than others, and is prone to ‘dry spells’ which employees and owners alike have weathered before. Painful decisions, as always. Start by staggering shifts and move to furloughing when needed.
Even in a crisis, florists are thinking logistically with an eye for lengthening the lifespan of the blooms. This group timed the installation for a bright, clear day followed by an overnight rain. Every stem was inserted by the team into fully saturated OASIS Midnight floral foam, so there are no concerns about the stems receiving the hydration they need to last for the week-long installation.
No Matter What, Now’s the Time to Clean Owning a flower shop already requires a lot of regular deep-cleaning. We all must scrub our floors and counters, coolers and buckets consistently to provide the longest lasting flowers to our customers. Another leg-up for our industry, its likely you’ve already got an effective cleaner in your store… DCD.
Mechanics for the installation were simple Soaked OASIS Midnight floral foam blocks were placed into Lomey design trays and secured in place with Bind Wire. These trays were placed inside of urns and along the fountain deck. Where Lomey dishes weren’t the right fit, like around the statues in the park, the team employed Grande Floracages in those cases.
Pop on those cleaning gloves, and remember to always follow all label directions. For quick reference, the typical mix rate is 2 oz per gallon. For general cleaning, a spray bottle might be best. Spray down a surface, scrub with a hard bristle brush and wipe clean. Repeat. You can deep clean your floors by mopping with DCD.
Renee’s suggestion to florists with excess blooms in this time of crisis, “I highly recommend repeating this type of public installation in your community if you have extra blooms on hand. It can be a smaller scale where, perhaps, just a single statue is enhanced. That will be enough to bring wonder and surprise to the many people who are out getting some fresh air during our times of self-quarantine.”
The shot in the arm, both given and received by the design team, is a great sight to see! Does this project inspire you? What are you and your team doing to feed your creative need or to help the public? Let us know in the comments below.