Salt Lake City shops take on recession, big box competition and more to show that buying flowers is still about the people.
Buy Local! That sentiment was never more true than it is for the Huddart family who have kept their flower business in-house for more than a hundred years. Jennifer Holley, a co-owner and family member has the bumper sticker on her car and around the shop.
“We’ve been through the depression, a few recessions, we’ve been through it all,” Holley said. “And we plan to keep moving forward.”
But it is customers choosing local that has kept the Huddarts in business she said.
Long-time customers have a shared history with Huddart Floral Company, Holley said. A customer might come in to buy flowers for their upcoming 30th wedding anniversary because it’s the same shop where they bought their wedding flowers.
Holley admitted that being in the flower business isn’t as simple as it was for her father in years past. With the Internet and wire services cropping up, Holley said the business had to emphasize the quality of their flowers, a point she said was not as important for online vendors.
“We put all our money into our product and not the pockets of a wire service. And, when there’s a problem it can be fixed immediately.”
Holley is not alone in her old school perspective. Sandra Goldberg, a co-owner of Skyline Flower Gardens, operates computer-free. All orders are taken by hand. Her books are all handwritten. Credit cards are not accepted.
“We don’t use any plastic,” Goldberg said. That’s just the way she does business.
Even though Goldberg doesn’t try very hard to get the word out about her business, Skyline Flower Gardens was still awarded Best Floral Bang for the Buck in 2003 by Salt Lake Magazine.
The year the Salt Lake City Library first opened, The English Garden moved into the building in alignment with efforts to promote local businesses. Ximena Tan runs the shop with her husband and, like Holley, said she believes in buying local first.
“It’s been a lot of hard work and a you need a good attitude going up against this economy,” Tan said. “There have been times where we wanted to drop the towel but our loyal customers in the community and the library itself kept us going.”
Despite the ups and downs, Utah florists have managed to keep customers happy. “I just like coming to this shop,” said Salt Lake City resident Theresa Morgan as she picked up an order from The English Garden. “There’s more of an experience when I buy locally versus just picking up a cheap bundle of flowers at my grocery store.”