It's a trying time for many businesses, but especially florists. With the spread of COVID-19 on the rise, many state and local governments are taking substantial measures to keep their communities safe. This includes shutting down all non-essential businesses in certain high-risk areas, like California and New York, and even areas with lower confirmed cases. So where do florists fall in all of this? How do you keep your doors open and delivery trucks running?
Well for a short answer, you need to make your business essential. With non-essential businesses being shut down, this is the only way you will be able to stay up and running. So how do you do this?
Here are a few ideas:
Restaurants and food delivery services are considered essential businesses, especially now with most people confined to their homes. Contact local restaurants and see if they need help delivering their orders. You might even get in touch with the local grocery stores and churches and see if you can help create a program for delivering groceries to elderly members of your community.
By partnering with local restaurants and grocery stores, your business becomes essential. This allows you to continue to deliver orders and help the other businesses around you. It can also help you in the long run! It will go a long way in building a better relationship with your community.
You might consider opening a bodega in your shop. Try to include items that are sought after right now, like hand sanitizer and toilet paper. This will give members of the community access to the goods they need without having to travel to a large convenience store, especially if there's not one nearby.
Be sure to promote these new services on your social channels and link your audience to where they need to go to find more information. This will show your audience that you're still up and running and that you're lending a helping hand.
Get in touch with your local Health Department or Governor's office. Explain the precautions you've been taking, like no-contact delivery and curbside pick-up, and tell them the importance of flowers during this time. Inform them of the studies that show that the presence of flowers eases stress and depression and that the community needs that more than ever now. Ask them what actions you can take in order to stay open during this time. This is a good way to show the importance of your flower shop and how essential you are to the health and well-being of your community.
Flowers bring joy and spread cheer and florists need to stay open in order to do that. Keep up the great work you've been doing and power on! #FloristStrong
FSN puts the health and safety of our communities first. We are experiencing very uncertain times and every state is in a different stage of this crisis. Many of our florist family have turned to us for information, suggestions, and help in navigating the quickly changing landscape of business closings, shelter in place orders, shutdown orders and the definition of essential.
Every area of the country is experiencing the impact of these events differently. Some states have deemed florists as essential, while some states are granting exemptions to some florists and not others. Local health departments are being allowed to interpret the guidelines in some areas. The situation is different from community to community. Certainly, the realities in New York City are different than a town of 15,000 in rural Tennessee.
While we understand these suggestions are not an option for everyone, for some they are, especially in areas where florists can still make no contact deliveries and curbside pickup. While closing a storefront is certainly best practice in the current situation, and advised, many shops are still doing business via their website and phone in some areas of the country. Direct-to-consumer flower providers are taking orders and delivering to consumers via UPS and Fed EX without any restrictions.
Florists across the U.S. are delivering food and other needed items to the elderly, at-risk children, etc. We are being inundated with stories of compassion and generosity as florists are helping and filling needs in their community. #floriststrong.
We understand the seriousness of this pandemic. As we all navigate through this crisis we must work together, share ideas and experiences and hope that tomorrow will be a better day.