* Products used to create design are also listed.
Clear Gathering Vase
Foliage: Variegated Pittosporum, Variegated Aspidistra Leaves
Bicolored Orange Circus Roses
Bicolored Orange & Yellow Tulips
* Prices shown in US Dollars, do not include delivery charge and may vary during holidays. The color or variety of some flowers, plants and containers may be substituted due to regional or seasonal availability.
Horanâ€™s Flower Shop -- Ok. We had last June a big celebration at one of the local hotels for staff and family. We had about 75 people. We had a lot of fun. My two older brothers have passed away but my two older sisters were there so we got up and talked about growing up in the business and some of the fun times that happened as we were growing up and that was kind of fun.
Then we had, two weeks ago, kind of an invited open house here at the shop for some of the town politicos and some friends as well as some of our top customers. We had 100 or so that came to that. We got a proclamation from the town and that day was Horanâ€™s flower shop day. We got a citation from the state general assembly from our state rep and our state senator. Very nice, framed citation congratulating us. Then we got another award from the chamber of commerce here in town congratulations us.
Itâ€™s been kind of fun. Last week, as I mentioned, we had a regular open house for anybody. We had them make ornaments, Christmas ornaments, and itâ€™s just like a white disc with our 100 years and our name in the center of it. We were giving those out as a little memento of our hundred years. Weâ€™ve been busy. Iâ€™m exhausted. *laughs*
Horanâ€™s Flower Shop -- *laughs* Well fortunately I havenâ€™t been around for 100 years but from what I know ofâ€”Iâ€™m a third generation so itâ€™s my grandfather that started it in Hartfordâ€”Oh, itâ€™s changed tremendously.
Just the supplies is amazing. You know, the invention of Styrofoam, the invention of Oasis and Advantageâ€”you know the foam that holds waterâ€”because years ago, before that, I mean, we used, I donâ€™t remember it but my Dad was talking about vermiculate in containers with chicken wire. Yeah, and for sprays they had to do like bamboo poles and they wrapped moss around it and they stuck flowers into the moss.
You know itâ€™s just with the new inventions and discoveries that have come along the way in the floral industry, it has just opened up the design features of our floral designers tremendously so that they can have much more leeway in design.
And of course just delivery vehicles. Back in the early days it was horse drawn carriages that delivered things. My grandfather during Christmas would dress up his driver as a Santa and they used to go in his sleigh delivering Christmas trees at Christmas time. Itâ€™s been amazing.
And the business itself has drastically changed. Funeral work is nowhere near what it was 30-40 years ago because of the changes in customs and things. Or thereâ€™s no calling hours or just one time calling hours. That kind of thing. Weâ€™re doing more and more sympathy arrangements to the home because itâ€™s such a short time frame. A lot of people miss the actual time frame and they want to remember the loved one so they send flowers to the house. So that has changed quite a bit.
And you know arrangements have become primary as opposed to loose flowers. I remember when I was a kid, especially at Thanksgiving, we would do these big cut flower boxes of football mums and just box after box of those things. And of course now itâ€™s centerpieces and that kind of stuff that weâ€™re doing so itâ€™s has become a different ballgame.
Horanâ€™s Flower Shop -- I think basically itâ€™s our bend-over-backwards service. We pride ourselves inâ€¦we canâ€™t compete in price with like the grocery stores and some of these onlineâ€¦I donâ€™t know how they do itâ€¦ â€œa dozen roses for 20 bucks, delivered and everything. But we go out of our way to satisfy the customers.
A lot of our customers we know pretty well so if someone calls and wants to send them something and they want to send them stargazer lilies and weâ€™re like â€œoh no, they donâ€™t like stargazer lilies.â€ That kind of little extra service has gone a long way for us.
We have one customer who calls us from Saudi Arabia. He has family here in town but heâ€™s a doctor over in Saudi Arabia. He calls us directly and places orders for his family here. As well as customers all over the country who have that security of calling us or now weâ€™re on the Internet so we get a lot of Internet orders from customers all over. I think itâ€™s just that sense of security or comfort level that people have with us over the years that has really proved fantastic in slow times.
Fortunately for the floral business, we have a product that is flexible in price. We have a lot of commercial accounts and when things are going well theyâ€™re not hesitant to spend $75, $100 dollars for a gift. But of course when things are tight theyâ€™ll call and say, â€œCan we do something for $40 or $50â€ and we say, â€œOf course you can.â€ And I think that has helped where itâ€™s not a stagnant kind of price, a take it or leave it kind of thing.
Weâ€™re very flexible and thatâ€™s what we try to emphasize with our customers. We tell our staff, â€œWork with them and find out what their likes and dislikes are.â€ If at all possible we can get what they want within reason of course. Some people want daffodils in the summer but there are times when you have to substitute. But I think thatâ€™s basically our secret that we kind of know our customers and do whatever we can to satisfy them.
Horanâ€™s Flower Shop -- Oh I think itâ€™s helped tremendously. Weâ€™re, as I mentioned, on the Internet and we get several orders a week. The technology has been wonderful.
Weâ€™re on a point of sale system and Iâ€™ll never forget the first time we introduced it. It was right before motherâ€™s day and I was in the doldrums because I didnâ€™t think business was going well because we seemed to be finished early and that kind of thing. Then I found out that we were ahead of the prior year.
Then I got thinking about it. Of course years ago before we had the point of sale we were actually calling out [orders] or over the old system with a computer having each taken order and then put it in a stack for calling out orders or on the computer punching them in. For local orders youâ€™d have to write the card and all that. With this system, you take the orders and itâ€™s done. The card is written. The order is sent out to a florist across the country. And so all of that time was an add-on. It was just amazing to me how much time was saved with new technology.
Horanâ€™s Flower Shop -- I think what has worked for us, as I mentioned, is you just cannot compete with price these days. You have to have that service that youâ€™re willing to go overboard and bend over backwards kind of thing where if somebody wants something, you do your damnedest to get the flower or the container that they want if at all possible.
Itâ€™s just that one-on-one, even if itâ€™s on the Internet, you try to respond to them in the same way and send them emails and stuff thanking them for the order and saying that weâ€™re doing our best to help you rather than thinking youâ€™re going to burn up the airways with just advertising is not going to do it these days. A small startup doesnâ€™t have the money that some of the big guns do.
So itâ€™s justâ€”word of mouth is huge. We have brides come in for a consult and they say â€œoh my friend, you did her wedding and it was great.â€ Thereâ€™s nothing better than word of mouth.
You just strive to have the freshest flowers, number one. If things are starting to go, put them discount cash and carry or donate them. Two years ago we had a huge storm on Valentines Day itself. Luckily we were able to call up most of the customers and [the orders] were sent out a day because we knew the storm was coming. Of course Iâ€™d ordered figuring that normally on the day itself we have a lot of walk-ins. I was figuring that we would be selling normally 300 or 400 roses in that afternoon. Of course with the storm we sold a fraction of that so we donated the roses to the nursing home.
Itâ€™s PR but that kind of mindset is important. You just have to think of things that will be meaningful down the road. Basically thatâ€™s it. Just donâ€™t go overboard and take it bit by bit. Do the best you can with what you have.
Horanâ€™s Flower Shop -- Oh absolutely. Thatâ€™s right. We know the houses and we know what goes in the house. Especially at Christmas we know which customers HATE red and it has to be burgundy because red doesnâ€™t work in their house. Thatâ€™s what we do. It takes time. You know this doesnâ€™t happen overnight. But after years of working with these customers and having trust in us it becomes a natural thing that naturally we canâ€™t send Mrs. Smith a red and green arrangement. It has to be burgundy and white and gold or something. That you learn over the years.
Horanâ€™s Flower Shop -- Weâ€™re open to new ideas and we try to do the very traditional in design but also the very cutting edge. In our display cooler we have the whole gamut of design in there. A thing that, especially if you have a lot of walk-ins, the thing that I recommend is that you have a wide range of prices.
We have some lower arrangements for like $12, $15. Theyâ€™re just little flowers that the stem was broken or something. I have the girls make little tiny arrangements with all of the broken stemmed flowers. The flower is fine itâ€™s just the stem you canâ€™t use in a larger arrangement. And then you have a $100 in there as well.
A lot of young people come in and instead of brining a bottle of wine they want a little hostess gift. So instead of having your cooler filled with 40,50,75 dollar arrangements, if you like a a12 15 20 dollar little hostess gift with fresh flowers, they fly out of here. I think thatâ€™s important to grab away from the liquor stores. Then they know youâ€™re gonna have that so the next time they say, â€œYou know Horanâ€™s has these little arrangements and that would be perfect for â€¦â€
You know we do a lot with the high schools here and work with them. We have three private schools in town. We have one thatâ€™s very close, just right down the street close to the store. A lot of the students walk down from the school and come in and buy a stem of this, a stem of that.
We treat them. We wrap everything in cello and tissue. Even if itâ€™s a single flower. Itâ€™s kind of our trademark and our branding. Theyâ€™re walking up the main street and people will see â€œwell they must have stopped at Horanâ€™sâ€ because they recognize the packaging.
Horanâ€™s Flower Shop -- Iâ€™ve been running it for 40 years. When my dad died we had kind of a family meeting. Iâ€™m the youngest of five and everyone else was on their career paths. Actually my wife and I had just got married the month prior and so we had a family meeting. No one else wanted to take over the business and I was in advertising at that point and so my wife and I talked and said â€œalright, letâ€™s give it 5 yearsâ€ and that was 40 years ago.
It has. Thereâ€™s ups and downs and great days and sad days but thatâ€™s business. When youâ€™re running any kind of business itâ€™s not all a â€œbed of rosesâ€ as they say.
Horanâ€™s Flower Shop -- Oh, is there a favorite? I think working with the first consultation is an eye opener. I think there are many brides that come in here that are so nervous. I try to get them to relax and tell them, â€œItâ€™s a party, youâ€™re supposed to have fun. What are you ideas?â€ Then they start loosening up. I always tell them to bring in pictures from magazines and stuff. What they like in style and color so that weâ€™re kind of on the same page. I give them different ideas and tell them, â€œWell, think on it. Nothingâ€™s set in stone. You can change your mind. Thatâ€™s your prerogative.â€ Weâ€™re very flexible up until a few weeks before the wedding when I start ordering. Then they start loosening up and that hopefully I put them at ease.
We had one bride and that was very unusual. She was from California and I never met her until the day before the wedding. Everything was done by phone. And she said, â€œThis is what Iâ€™m thinking of. Can you do it?â€ I said, â€œSure!â€ and she was happy as a clam. She came in the day before and saw what we had done. That was really the first time I was never physically one on one with a bride and that was fun and it worked out.
Thatâ€™s what youâ€™ve gotta do. Youâ€™ve gotta go with the flow and work with them and itâ€™s fun to see them develop too. Encourage them to get their own ideas. Nothing is set in tradition. You make your own tradition with your wedding. Itâ€™s YOUR special day. So you just, whatever you want, within reason, it can be done.
Itâ€™s fun to see them develop and you can almost see them work in their mind on how itâ€™s gonna look. They keep seeing different pictures. From this picture we can take that kind of color or flower and work into that picture. Then you can see their mindâ€™s eye developing that new picture and thatâ€™s really fun.