Local flower shops are in peril, thanks to the Internet, grocery stores, and the recession
A question for the gentlemen* out there: When you leave work today and stop off to buy your special someone a Valentine's Day bouquet of flowers, will you:
A) Make the trip to your local florist and plunk down some unfathomable sum for a dozen perfect roses?
B) Pop into the grocery store and grab a decent enough looking bunch along with a bottle of wine?
C) Hope you find one of those street vendors selling bouquets that look like they fell off the back of a truck?
D) None of the above, because you had a little foresight and called 1-800 FLOWERS a week ago?
If you're like a growing number of Americans over the past few recession-racked years, chance are you answered anything but A. After all, few people wants to go out of their way to spend an extravagant amount on a gift that will be dead within days. And therein lies the problem for the mom and pop florists who have been selling us our Valentine's Day roses for years, and now find their business model drooping.
The exact figures differ depending on the source, but over the last decade, the number of local flower stores in the United States has been thoroughly pruned. According to the Society of American Florists, there are now 25% fewer storefront shops than in 1999. Analysts at market researchers IBISWorld say the industry has shrunk by 16 percent since just 2007. Revenue has been dropping for a decade. And while some business owners have tried to consolidate and streamline their operations by closing stores, others have just packed up their shears and called it quits.