Postcards From The Pandemic: No Joy In Flowerville
This May is unlike any Michael Day has seen as owner of Flowerville, a custom design floral shop in University Heights.
Normally, Day and his staff are extremely busy creating arrangements for a month filled with weddings, graduations, proms and First Communion ceremonies. However, the stay-at-home directive issued to combat COVID-19 has caused many of those events to be canceled or postponed.
This drastic reduction in business has deprived Day of much of his income during this all-important month.
Hearing the News
When I heard the directive, the first thing I thought of was my customers and my staff. I realized that I did have to close down the business as we have known it for the last 35 years that I've owned it.
As an owner, I also knew that I had to do something or I would have no income. I have payments, responsibilities and debts and bills, so I figured out ‘how could I keep my business alive?’
I decided even though I had to furlough my staff, to go back to what I did many years ago and do everything myself. It certainly made me appreciate my staff as well as my customers.
Flowerville staff Lee Vlk, Bill Wulfhoop and owner Michael Day in 2018 [Michael Day]
Financially, May was devastating. This is our busiest month of the year. We often would do two or three times the business in May that we would do any other month of the year, so being closed at this time has been very, very difficult for us.
Keeping in Contact
Many of the conversations I’ve had with customers have been them calling to apologize for having to cancel an event, like a wedding and expressing frustration about not being sure what to do next. The frustration they feel turns to the frustration I feel for them. We’ve had numerous brides who have called me, many in tears, just not knowing what to do.
Throughout the eight weeks we’ve been closed except for delivery, I’ve had many customers who have called me when I was working alone to tell me, ‘Michael, I need Flowerville to stay in business. Can you do these orders for me and get them delivered, even during this time?’
I’m blessed to have customers who have supported me throughout this crisis. It certainly wasn’t the business we’ve been used to in the past, but it kept me going and gave me hope. I found that people were truly kind and took a minute to say how much they appreciated Flowerville being there all these years. Those aren’t the kinds of things you hear during a normal year, so for me it has been kind of precious to be here by myself to connect with people at a different level than it would be normally.
A Bright Spot
This whole past six to eight weeks that we’re just doing deliveries, I noticed a huge uptick in the number of birthday arrangements. I would say probably 70 percent of the orders were for birthdays.
People couldn't see their loved ones for their birthdays. They couldn't just pop over or take them out to dinner so they were sending flowers.
I just pretty much take it day by day. We have been blessed. We've had these customers supporting us through it. I've got a good staff that’s ready and willing to come back when I need them. I think we're going to be okay and Flowerville is going to keep going.