Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Just in Time for Valentine's Day: Big Box Stores Driving Small Florists Out of Business

Planning to get a nice bouquet for your sweetie this Valentine's Day? If so, as it turns out, you'll have far fewer options for doing so than ever before. Here is a Roanoke, Virginia, television station with the story:
The floral industry isn't exactly blooming these days.

According to the Society of American Florists, there were 25,617 floral shops in America in 1998.

By 2009, that number dropped to 17,493, a difference of 8,493.

It is estimated another 4,000 floral shops will close nationwide in the next two years.

We're told 3 floral shops have gone out of business in Roanoke in the past year.

Floral shops say the downturn in the economy, increased competition from the internet, and big box chains are the reasons for so many closures.

Stores like Walmart and Kroger can sell flowers at cheaper prices because they buy so much volume.

Jim Taetz owns Crystal Orchid Flower Shoppe in downtown Roanoke. He told News 7, "You don't compete. If you compete with them you are going to go out of business."
I'm not going to say that the reasons highlighted in the story for the decline of florist shops aren't at least partially accurate. Certainly the trends cited above were a huge factor, especially leading up to 2009. But since then, it is more likely that the ongoing slow motion crash of the economy is an even bigger reason why so many of these shops are going under. In fact, we lost the local florist shop that was within walking distance of my house about a year ago.

Ladies, please don't get mad at me, but flower bouquets are a true luxury item that can easily be done without by anyone who is trying to economize because their wages were cut or they lost their job. Think about it, the dozen roses your honey-bunny gives you today will last a week if you're lucky. Florists, who were already swimming upstream in the peak oil era now face a cascading waterfall looming in their path.

Bonus: "I come to you with empty hands...I guess I forgot again"


  1. People are struggling with the basics... florists are declining imho because flowers are like art... culturally marginalized and also fiscally one of the first things to go when people are struggling to keep the power on and food on the table. In a contracting economy it makes sense that the *cream* expenses are cut first. The only reason the big box stores can compete because of volume is they can support those marginalized products with more basic necessities.

    In the end even THEY will drop them.

    I admit I buy my flowers at Aldi's.... 6 roses for $4 can't compare with $20 for 6 elsewhere.... online it is even more expensive.

  2. The new, higher price of energy will mean that, sooner or later, globalised trade chains will break and we shall see the return of local stores.
    This is as inevitable as the rise of Wal-Mart et al was in the age of cheap energy.

  3. Watch for Hallmark's and other card companies to start folding as e-cards replace real paper. The price of paper cards has really inflated over the last few years, which I guess is a sign of what's happening.