florists work together in London, Ontario to increase sales for all.
by Shelley Urban
Photos by Rachel Lincoln, Rachel Lincoln Photography
charming flier, designed by the print shop who joined in the
efforts as a partner, was mailed to designated postal codes and
used by each florist to promote the 2009 Holiday Inspiration
Tour. The group printed 40,000 fliers for the 2009 event.
Turning negatives into positives just comes naturally
to some people. Tony Manders, AIFD, CAFA, who owned
Regency Florists in
London, Ontario, was one of those people. In 2008, when he and several
other London florists, including Gammage Flowers, learned that
their floral design skills were no longer needed for an annual holiday
tour of homes, they decided to join forces and promote the floral
industry, and their stores, as a group. They dubbed it the “Holiday
joint open house event on a grand scale
involving any florists who wanted to participate.
That first year, six florists were on board, and the
tour attracted visitors to all shops plus provided support for a local
charity. For 2009, the tour expanded to seven shops.
“We have to be like farmers and make hay while the sun shines,”
Mr. Manders said last November, as he prepared for the 2009
Holiday Inspiration Tour. “The Christmas season is the time when, if we
work hard, we can make a lot of money, so we [have the resources] to
rest later.” And working together, he pointed out, was the best way to
make the most of the holiday season.
Sadly, Mr. Manders passed away unexpectedly just a few
months later, in April 2010, but his hard work, and that of the six
other florists on the tour, attracted more shoppers and more charitable
donations for Mission Services of London during the 2009 tour. Let their
efforts inspire you to make the most of your Christmas season.
support for the industry
After conceiving the plan to formalize a group approach
to the holidays, Mr. Manders, along with Gammage Flowers Owner Judite
Holder, contacted other florists who had participated in the home
tour, and Operations Manager Melissa Leeming generally “put out
the word” to other florists. “Any florist was welcome to participate,”
Ms. Leeming recalls. “Although we are one another’s competition, we
thought we could make for a better floral community by working as a
collective unit to promote and support one another.”
The florists also agreed that the tour provided a great
opportunity to make the community better through support of a local
charity. The primary requirement was that it had to be local. “We wanted
the donations to be used right within our city,” Ms. Leeming shares.
With these two goals in mind, the first Holiday
Inspiration Tour, in 2008, was off and running. When the group convened
in June of 2009, to plan for the November ’09 tour, which was held Nov.
7 and 8, the goals remained the same, with just a few tweaks to the plan
required. In addition to Regency Florists and Gammage Flowers, these
florists were on board for the 2009 Holiday Inspiration Tour: Argyle
Flowers & Design Studio, McInnis Flowers & Gifts, McLennan Flowers,
Richmond Florist and Springhill Flowers.
High-end permanent botanicals and luxurious ribbon lavishly
accessorize a grand wreath on display at Argyle Flowers & Design
Chic, ready-to-display tabletop trees in alternative materials
such as feathers and glittered metallics give customers
delightful options for the traditional tannenbaum.
at a glance
Holiday Inspiration Tour
Ontario, Canada, a city of approx. 350,000 residents that lies
about 125 miles northeast of Detroit on the banks of the Thames
Number of shops: 6 in 2008; 7 in 2009
Cost to participate: $2,000 per florist in 2009
What that bought: 40,000 fliers mailed to targeted postal
codes; 1,000 visitor “passports”; 100 posters hung in flower
shops and neighboring businesses; radio advertising valued at
$12,500; and a $1,250 cash donation to the charitable
To read more about the tour and to see all seven florists, look to the
July 2010 issue of Florists' Review.
Contact Shelley Urban at
email@example.com or (800) 367-4708.
to purchase the current issue of Florists' Review.