Way: Pam March, of Every Blooming Thing, finds success through tireless
effort and staying true to her course.
by Shelley Urban
In 1977, when Pam March decided to open a brand-new
flower shop in Salt Lake City, Utah, which she would dub Every
Blooming Thing, she knew her path to success would not be an easy
one. But, as a single parent whose first flower shop, in Ogden, Utah,
had been a casualty of divorce proceedings, she also knew that failure
was not an option.
Perhaps the most important bit of knowledge Mrs. March
held onto was a crystal-clear vision of the type of florist she wanted
to be—a purveyor of high-end, quality products that offer beauty and
value (rather than rock-bottom price) marketed to affluent clients in
Salt Lake and surrounding communities. This focus influenced every
decision she made, and from this plan, Mrs. March has never wavered.
“Having a clear picture of who I wanted to be has been my greatest
asset,” she declares. “And now, we’re living the dream that I envisioned
more than 30 years ago.”
Completing the picture, she adds, is the honor of being
selected the 2009 “Retail Florist of the Year,” an annual contest
co-sponsored by Florists’ Review and the Wholesale Florist &
Florist Supplier Association (WF&FSA). In 2008, Every Blooming Thing
won the “Outstanding Marketing and Promotions” category (see August
2008, Page 53). The company was nominated by Ensign Wholesale Floral
in Salt Lake City. “We are absolutely thrilled!” Mrs. March exclaims.
Every Blooming Thing at a
Number of shops:
Lake City and Draper, Utah
1977 (Salt Lake City)
3,000 square feet at each location
mostly affluent men and women ages 35-80
Average sale of all merchandise:
Average fresh flower sale:
Annual sales volume:
approximately $1 million; 80 percent in Salt Lake City, 20
percent in Draper
Number of employees:
12, all full time
a place to call home
The first step toward the fulfillment of Mrs. March’s dream was to
select a location. When she laid eyes upon an 1893 French Victorian
home, she knew, just as Brigham Young declared when he and his fellow
Mormon pioneers happened into Salt Lake Valley, that this was “the right
place.” The home, she says, had been vacant for two years, “and the
grass was up to my armpits. But it ‘spoke’ to me. It needed TLC, and so
While it was a perfect match for the type of business Mrs.
March envisioned, transforming the neglected house into a fabulous
flower shop required considerable effort in a limited time frame. “We
wanted to be open before the holiday season, so we worked day and night
for three months and opened in September,” she recalls.
Surprisingly, the historic building had never been remodeled,
so it retained its original beauty, including two parlors, exquisite
stained glass and five working fireplaces (although they’ve never been
used in the flower shop) featuring hand-cast tiles. The five gorgeous
mantels display some of the shop’s gifts and home accessories with
Today, Mrs. March describes the 3,000-square-foot home as an
“oasis in a sea of concrete and asphalt. When people see our building,
it’s a respite for the eyes and is part of our business’s charm,” she
adds. Likewise, the store in Draper, Utah, which opened in 2007, stands
out as well because it, too, is in a charming old home.
But just as the Salt Lake Valley proved to be a bit
treacherous to those early settlers, starting over proved a bit
challenging for Mrs. March as well. “We slept in sleeping bags on the
floor upstairs while, [downstairs], we were working hard to make the
shop posh and upscale,” she explains. “Appearance and presentation are
everything, even if I’m eating ramen noodles, which I did quite often in
those days.” She lived by the motto, “Do whatever it takes,” which, she
says, applies as much now as it did then.
With sales down
approximately 30 percent from last year—hovering around the $1
million mark, 80 percent of which comes from the main shop in
Salt Lake City—Mrs. March is back in “whatever it takes” mode,
putting, as she did in the early days, “every ounce of energy
into making [this business] succeed,” she says. So she’s not
waiting for clients to come to her; she’s going to them. “We
have to actively seek out new business, and if we want to do
that, we have to be players. We have to be involved,” she
For nearly 20 years, Mrs.
March has been one of just a few women active in her local
Rotary. In addition, she and members of her staff are directors
on several boards around Salt Lake City, including a major bank,
the opera guild, a world-renowned dance company and much more.
The reason? “Even in the corporate world,” she reports,
“companies do not do business with companies; people do business
with people. Take good care of the people you do business with.”
The shop and staff are also active participants in multiple
fundraisers and other events throughout the year. “We
participate in everything,” she assures. The result is strong
business-to-business relationships that, despite tough economic
times, still yield Every Blooming Thing 50 percent of its annual
Mrs. March proactively seeks new individual accounts as well,
primarily by positioning her product in locations frequented by
her target clientele. “I just made a ‘cold call’ to a
high-profile restaurant to offer them a free weekly bouquet,
which we would display with our card,” she reports.
While the no-cost offer brings in no new money for Every
Blooming Thing, the exposure to the restaurant’s wealthy diners,
as well as a relationship with the restaurateur, are the initial
goals. “The bouquet will probably have a $65 value, but it will
cost us almost nothing to produce. And our product is our best
advertisement, so this is a great way to reach our target
clients and to establish a new [commercial] relationship at very
low cost,” Mrs. March explains.
strategy of positioning her shop’s products in high-profile
locations frequented by wealthy clientele is one that Mrs. March
has employed since her early days, when she began offering
floral décor for various venues, such as that of the Utah Opera,
whenever a new performance opened. As a result, the shop’s
following within the arts community is especially strong.
So it’s fitting, then, that
both Every Blooming Thing locations are complete with art
galleries, each of which houses an array of original works from
up-and-coming artists ranging in price from $395 to $4,000. The
displayed works, which could include paintings, pottery, jewelry
and other types, attract art buyers on a daily basis. Each
month, a “gallery stroll”—during which several area galleries
open for evening gatherings—highlights featured artists.
Orchids, as well as other tropicals, are often featured in the
shops’ design work.
Every creation is custom-designed, and Mrs. March says her shop
is known to “push the envelope,” as this artful contemporary
Robert Upwall, general manager; Pam March, owner; and Mark
Abbott, manager of the store in Draper, Utah, don their evening
attire for the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company’s annual benefit,
Cabaret of Fools, which the company sponsors with auction
donations and floral décor.
Pieces are typically on display for 30 days and, if
they’re not sold, are replaced with new items, often in
different mediums. “We like to shake it up with different types
of work, but we evaluate the pieces and are selective about what
we display,” shares Mrs. March. “And we’re different from other
galleries in that we give the artists 60 percent of the sale
rather than 50 percent,” she says, which is, perhaps, why
artists seek out Every Blooming Thing to host their exhibits.
Once or twice a year, when an artist has something especially
wonderful to offer, the shops host special-invitation events
with fabulous food, live entertainment and more. Every Blooming
Thing foots the bill, but Mrs. March says the cost is worth it
because these events reach sophisticated fine-art buyers. “We
invite our own clients as well as those from the artists’ client
lists, which gives us access to these consumers for our ongoing
marketing,” she elaborates.
Recently, with an upcoming one-woman art show in the works,
Every Blooming Thing was already bustling with buyers. According
to Mrs. March, three pieces sold before the show even opened.
“The artist had to find items to fill the spots, but we’re
definitely not turning down any business,” she adds.
One of the two parlors in the Salt Lake City shop showcases
merchandise much as it might be displayed in homes—on mantels,
atop pianos (actually, an antique harmonia in this case) and
tucked into the niche under the grand staircase.
Weddings are another
important area of business. The shops book approximately 115 to
120 per year, which account for about 30 percent of annual
revenues. Prices typically range from $2,800 to $5,000.
“Weddings,” Mrs. March says, “have been wonderful in helping
keep us afloat [over the past several months]. Most,” she
elaborates, “were planned and saved for before the economy went
in the Dumpster, so wedding prices are still strong.”
Moving forward, the shop
is prepared to transform even more wedding consultations into
booked events with new technology added to the Salt Lake shop’s
bridal gallery, which Mrs. March describes as a “darling room”
that features a fireplace and is furnished with a daybed, a
sofa, and a table and chairs, “so we can accommodate large
groups—the entire family,” she adds.
Recently added to the
gallery is a big-screen television and Apple TV, which enables
digital photos to be transmitted wirelessly for viewing on the
new big screen. “This system is phenomenal!” exclaims Mrs.
March. “We can show brides their chosen venues, and seeing our
work in their wedding or reception locations is the biggest
selling point,” she reports. Consultants also can show just
samplings of bouquets or just centerpieces, which helps during
the planning phases.
Pepper Nix, a photographer
who also caters to a wealthy clientele and who shares her
photographs of Every Blooming Thing’s wedding décor, convinced
Mrs. March, a self-described “techno-phobe,” to try the new
system. “It’s incredibly easy to use, and my total investment
was less than $1,000,” Mrs. March recalls.
The shop’s Web site, www.everybloomingthing.cc, also features
the same types of images as can be shown on the Apple TV set-up.
It, too, captures bridal customers. Of course, there’s no
substitute for the real thing, so Every Blooming Thing
participates in a large bridal show every year. While Mrs. March
acts as a commentator for the fashion show, her designers’
bouquets are carried down the runway. “We contribute all the
bouquets on stage,” she confides.
After more than 30 years in business, Every Blooming
Thing has seen its share of good times and weathered its
share of storms, so Mrs. March is able to see today’s
challenges through the perspective of experience. “We
will succeed,” she assures, “because we have to. But we
are doing things differently, some of which we should
have done five years ago.”
For example, while the
shops never use design “recipes,” every design requires
a list of ingredients as built, complete with retail
pricing, so customers know exactly what they’re being
charged for. “This also prevents us from adding extra
flowers until the arrangement looks ‘just right,’” adds
Likewise, customers are paying more attention to cost now as
well. “We never presented ourselves as low budget,” Mrs.
March shares, “and customers never ordered based on
price. Now, though, they’re asking what they can get for
$85 or $100.”
Keeping sales strong to these customers is all a matter of
presentation, notes Mrs. March. “Don’t ever ask, ‘What’s
your budget?” she admonishes. “Start high, with a
question like, ‘Are you thinking something in the $75 to
$100 price range?,’ and if they gasp, then work your way
down to a price that’s comfortable,” she explains.
The shop’s minimum is $40, for which customers are assured
they’ll receive something “small but lovely.” Most fresh
flower sales are in the $65 to $100 price range, which
remains consistent over previous years. Seventy-five
percent of the shop’s sales is fresh flowers.
Sales of all
merchandise, however, have dropped just a bit from an
average of $85 to prices in the $65 to $85 range.
Nonfloral products, such as giftware and home
accessories, account for most of the remaining 25
percent. The most popular among these categories are
candles, pampering products, wall décor and high-end
kitchen wares, all of which range in price from $10 to
fulfilling the dream
Hard times are known
to bring out either the best in folks or the worst, and
in the case of Mrs. March and her fellow Utah florists,
the economy has brought out the best.
Perfectly coordinating companion pieces of varying
sizes, such as this gardeny trio, are often used to
accessorize multiple tabletops at weddings and events.
Weddings account for approximately 30 percent of the
company’s annual revenues. To keep this business strong,
Every Blooming Thing keeps its work in the public eye,
donating bouquets to bridal shows and wedding-related
publications for photo shoots.
Floral head pieces are popular for flower girls; this
one is fashioned in the style of a wreath.
The shop has accumulated a wealth of props over the
years and makes most of them available for wedding work
at no additional cost.
along with Ensign Wholesale Floral, are revitalizing an
organization of Utah’s floral professionals called the Utah
Professional Florists Association. At the organization’s kick-off event, each florist
brought an arrangement. Afterward, Every Blooming Thing’s
delivery staff transported all the arrangements to Salt Lake
City’s hospitals, convalescent homes and the like. Mrs. March
explains the philosophy: “Even when times are tough, we still
want to do good in the world.”
regular contributor to and participant in charitable events,
Mrs. March is no stranger to doing good. Perhaps dearest to her
heart is “Blooming Hope,” a charitable floral design event that
she established to raise money for a local children’s hospital.
Part of an annual home and garden festival, Blooming Hope
features the shop’s design work, which is later auctioned. “We
raised $6,100 in just two hours this year,” points out Mrs.
March, who, along with a local television anchor person, is a
commentator at the event. Ensign Wholesale helps to make
Blooming Hope possible as well, with excellent pricing and
product donations when possible.
Like every employee, General Manager Robert Upwall is
ready to serve customers, even as he creates a stylish
Topiaries are the shop’s signature arrangement, but
their styles vary; they may be sleek and modern or
infused with gardeny charm.
this event is a highly public way for the shop to display its
caring attitude, a reflection of the owner’s attitude, no doubt,
the daily kindnesses along the way are what have earned
tremendous customer loyalty. “As we deal with individuals, we
find so many opportunities to be thoughtful and caring when
families are most in need of support,” Mrs. March shares.
Clearly, the shop has made a mark on its
communities, and, says Mrs. March, “The employees who’ve been
here have all had an impact on us as well. We’re meant to be
here,” she adds—for themselves and their community. As a result,
she hopes to help other florists achieve their dreams as well,
offering to mentor anyone who needs guidance while trying to
make their own way through challenging times.
she says, is among her highest honors as a florist—to be able to
make a difference when people need it the most. “For example,
when a family has lost a child, we serve them as we do every
customer, but in the end, we never charge them. There isn’t that
much cost involved, and it’s a way for us to show kindness in a
time of need,” she explains.
Powerful Partners: Ensign Wholesale Floral
After receiving the “Retail Florist of the Year” award
for 2009, Pam March poses with some of the folks who
have helped make her dream a reality. From left are Mark
Jackson, general manager of Ensign Wholesale Floral;
Robert Upwall, general manager of Every Blooming Thing;
Mrs. March; John March, accountant for Every Blooming
Thing; and Taylor Vriens, who owns Ensign Wholesale
Floral. Photo courtesy of WF&FSA
March, owner of Every Blooming Thing in Salt Lake City,
Utah, who was selected as the 2009 “Retail Florist of
the Year,” says she purchases at least 80 percent of her
fresh flowers and supplies from Ensign Wholesale Floral,
also in Salt Lake City (and Ogden, Utah). “They are our
biggest partners,” she relates. “We support them, and
they support us, making so much of what we do possible.”
Mark Jackson, Ensign Wholesale Floral’s general manager, who
nominated Every Blooming Thing for this year’s contest,
shares that the relationship is mutually beneficial.
“It’s one of the best business partnerships anyone could
want. Every Blooming Thing is a great shop that’s very
active in the community, and we’re pleased to help
wherever we can because the shop’s ‘causes’ are
important to us as well.”
Mr. Jackson reports that, in his four years with Ensign
Wholesale, he’s been impressed with the shop’s passion
for the floral industry and their love of people. He
cites the latter as an important reason for the shop’s
three decades of success. “They have the attitude that
customers are more than just customers, they’re family
and, as a result, they’ve built long-term relationships
in the community. And they turn out beautiful products,
too,” he adds.
Ensign Wholesale serves all of the Beehive State, as Utah is
known, as well as parts of Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada.
For more information about Ensign Wholesale Floral, call
(801) 359-8746, or visit
To learn more about the “Retail Florist of the Year”
www.floristsreview.com, or contact us at (800)
367-4708. Visit the Web site of our co-sponsor, WF&FSA,
or call (888) 289-3372
Contact Shelley Urban at email@example.com or (800)
Images by Pepper Nix Photography; Salt Lake City, Utah and
Orange County, Calif.