feature story

                 connecting with community

"Retail Florist of the Year" category winner Scott’s Floral, Gift & Greenhouses repays the community for its support through sponsorship of approximately 20 area organizations and events.

by Kelsey Smith

    One of the first moral values we are taught in our youth is to treat others as we want to be treated. The Golden Rule applies not only in our relationships with family and friends but also in business. And it’s one of the guiding principles behind the success of Scott’s Floral, Gift & Greenhouses, a two-location business in Danville, Pa., and Lewisburg, Pa., owned by Scott Edwards, AIFD, AAF, his wife, Judy, and their twin daughters, Heather Edwards and Holly Schrader. The business has formed relationships with hospitals, educational groups, churches and all types of other organizations with donations of time, talent and product during its 34-year history.
    “You’re asking the community all the time for their support in making your flower shop survive, and this is a way of thanking them and showing your support to them,” Scott says. “It’s a two-way street.”
    It’s this sentiment that helped Scott’s Floral capture the award for Outstanding Community Involvement in our 2008 “Retail Florist of the Year” contest, co-sponsored by the Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier Association (WF&FSA). Gallagher Floral Supply, Inc., a wholesale florist in Plains, Pa., endorsed Scott’s Floral’s entry in the contest.

rooted in loyalty
    Scott says it seems only right to support the community that has supported him and his family not only through the business but also throughout each of their childhoods. Judy is a lifelong resident of Danville, and Scott lived in nearby Bloomsburg before moving to rural Danville at age 13, nearly 40 years ago. He got his start in the flower business at age 17 in the basement of his parents’ home, selling home-grown chrysanthemums to people who drove to the family’s farm.
    Today, his business has 21 employees—eight full time (including the four family members) and 13 part time—at its two locations. It covers a delivery radius of approximately 20 miles from each store and serves a combined population of nearly 66,000 in Montour and Union counties, where Danville and Lewisburg are located, respectively. The Danville store encompasses nearly 15,000 square feet, including a 7,400-square-foot addition completed last year that allowed the Edwards family to set up a baby boutique and expand the popular gourmet area. The addition also includes a new wedding consultation room; a greenhouse; a storage area wide enough for trucks to enter; an employee breakroom; and, on Saturdays, a farmers’ market featuring local vendors. The Danville location serves as the business’s design center for both stores as well. The Lewisburg shop, which opened in 1989 and encompasses a much smaller 1,800 square feet, is about 14 miles away. Heather shares that the company’s sales each month are higher than the same month the previous year.

  Scott's Floral, Gift & Greenhouses at a glance

Owners: Scott (AIFD, AAF) and Judy Edwards and their daughters, Heather Edwards and Holly Schrader
Number of shops: 2
Location: Danville, Pa., and Lewisburg, Pa.
Year Established: 1974 in Danville; Lewisburg store opened in 1989
Shop size: nearly 15,000 square feet at Danville location (approx. 9,000 square feet is retail); 1,800 square feet at Lewisburg location (approx. 1,000 square feet is retail)
Clientele: diverse; all ages and incomes
Specialties: fresh flowers, plants, fruit and gourmet baskets, baby gifts and other giftware
Average transaction amount: $35 to $40
Average price for fresh arrangements: $30 (minimum delivery: $25)
Number of employees: 21 (8 full time and 13 part time)
Web site: www.scottsfloral.com



celebrating heritage
    Scott’s Floral’s most prominent sponsorship is for Danville’s Iron Heritage Festival, an annual event spanning nearly a week each July that celebrates the town’s roots in the iron industry. Scott’s Floral has sponsored the event since it began a decade ago and was recognized this year as a 10-year sponsor. As a sponsor, Scott’s Floral is mentioned in the festival’s keepsake program booklet each year as well as on a large banner at the main intersection in downtown Danville.
    The business touts its involvement as a “proud sponsor” of the festival on its Web site along with a photo of Holly and Heather dressed in vintage attire in front of the business’s 1929 Ford pick-up truck, which has led the way in the Iron Heritage Parade in several years past.
charitable contributions
    In addition to the festival, Scott’s Floral works with a number of not-for-profit organizations. The company has donated floral décor for the past three years for an annual dinner to benefit the Susquehanna Valley House of Hope, an organization in Danville for troubled teenagers, and has donated 15 to 20 centerpieces for the American Heart Association’s Annual Gala each year for the past five years. Each centerpiece has a retail value of approximately $50. Heather explains that, in addition to recognition of Scott’s Floral in printed programs, the donations help make money for the organizations when they are raffled off at the end of the events.
    Other organizations and events Scott’s Floral sponsors are: Danville Area United Way, Geisinger Medical Center, Boy Scouts of America, Danville Area School District, Lewisburg Area School District, Danville Downtown Business Alliance, Danville Foundation, Danville Area Community Center, William Cameron Engine Company, Relay for Life, Crop Walk and several local churches.

qualifying requests
    The business, which does not have a particular annual budget for donations, gets an average of two or three donation requests each week, Heather says, although her father adds that he recently received five requests within only a two-hour time frame. In response to the volume, Scott and Judy created a form several years ago that assists them in “qualifying” donation requests. (Go to www.florists review.com to download a copy of Scott’s Floral’s donation request form.)
    “The form gives us a guideline,” Heather explains. “There is a list of questions, such as ‘What would you like donated?’ and ‘Will there be a printed program for your function, and if so, will our business name be listed?’ We also ask if they presently have an account with us. If they do, that means they’ve used us before, and we try to support the groups that have supported us. They usually do have an account with us.”
    But not having an account with Scott’s Floral does not necessarily disqualify the requesting organization. “We try not to say ‘no’ to anybody,” Scott relates, adding that there are a few exceptions, including donations that benefit only one individual.
    Scott says that although monetary donations are not completely out of the question—Scott’s Floral makes a yearly cash donation to the United Way, for example—the business is selective in fulfilling such requests. He explains that anybody can give cash, but donations of floral arrangements with Scott’s Floral cards attached stand out and let attendees of each event see what the company’s floral designers can do. This is especially important since fresh flowers and plants account for 83 percent of the company’s annual revenues, with the remaining 17 percent comprising gourmet baskets, gifts and other nonfloral purchases.
    Heather notes that when donations of floral arrangements or gifts do not suit the asking organization’s needs, gift certificates are a great way to provide something that is perceived as equal to money but gets people specifically into Scott’s Floral to see what the business has to offer. Donated gift certificates typically are valued at $25 to $50.
    Heather encourages other florists to keep in mind the residual value of giving. “We have developed the mindset that it’s to our benefit to support the community,” she explains. “If we support an event, those who attend are more likely to think of us for their floral needs.” She points out that donations to schools, for example, can lead to prom corsage sales and even wedding sales later in the students’ lives.

service beyond donations
    Scott says it is often difficult to distinguish between contributions of the family and those of the business, with his daughters and him each giving their time in some capacity. For example, in addition to donations from Scott’s Floral, the American Heart Association benefits from Heather’s service on its gala committee. She also is on the Iron Heritage Festival Board of Directors and is chairperson of the festival’s Afternoon Tea, which Scott’s Floral sponsored this year. Holly works with the Geisinger Auxiliary, the volunteer organization of Geisinger Medical Center. And Scott has served on the boards of several community organizations, including past roles as president of the Danville Downtown Business Alliance and the Danville Lions Club.
    “It took the entire community for us to go from me being in the basement of my mom and dad’s house to having a store that covers 302 feet of road frontage and 15,000 square feet of space,” Scott says. “You don’t do that by not doing something right and having people support you. That’s why we feel it’s important to support them.”

Contact Kelsey Smith at ksmith@floristsreview.com or (800) 367-4708.  

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