Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The last few months have become very challenging for small businesses like florists. Driving to work, it is very discomforting to see empty commercial spaces and large 'For Lease' signs on windows, and on the side of roads. Next to our shop, there used to be no parking space to be had; trucks and cars used to park on the street. In March, a large construction painting company just closed their shop and now there's a lot of empty parking spaces.
Our flower business is down by at least 20% for the first quarter of the year and it looks like it would be the same for the second quarter. Brides have become very cost conscious - those that came to us ordered only the basic flowers they needed - bridal bouquet, small bridesmaids bouquets, small corsages and boutonnieres, and loose flowers or rose petals that they will use for table decorations. We've had a few nice wedding business, but a lot fewer this year than last. We particularly loved the wedding we did last month where we did centerpieces including the guest sign-in table, food table and the ladies' bathroom. The chuppah was a challenge to make but in a good way.
The funeral business has also slowed down. Families have also become more cost conscious in their flower purchases. We had one family order loose flowers and materials for a relative to arrange the flowers for the service. Fortunately, there are still a few that we were able to do, a recent one were tropical arrangements for a funeral.
We have hunkered down, downsized as much as we are able to, and still continue to operate the business without going into debt. We are still able to pay our bills, mortgage for the shop and our residence. Still, the economy does not look good. In Sacramento, our economy depend so much on the government - it is the biggest employer, and with Friday furloughs, not only are the government employees affected, a lot of businesses are affected - restaurants, gift shops, etc.
We are hoping the economy improves, but if not, we will continue to watch our expenses, market our business the most economical way and hopefully find ways to do it for free, and find additional corporate accounts. We look for best pricing in flowers so that we can offer the best price to our customers. Our best asset will still be our customer service and our same day delivery service.