Memorial Day floral arrangements will be available to commemorate those who passed away while serving in the military, but the selection might be limited, according to local flower shop owners.
Beads & Blooms Florist, All Occasions Events & Floral and Bela Floral, all located in Ludington, are supplying flowers for the holiday on Monday.
The supply chain for delivering flowers has had some disruptions due to coronavirus closures, said Beads & Blooms Florist owner Colton Gregory.
“It’s hard to sell flowers to people when they can’t see them,” Gregory said. “I’m talking to people over the phone and explaining what we have in stock. If they are looking for something special, we are at the mercy of the trucks. The trucks coming from the farms are behind and we are having a hard time getting fresh flowers in.”
The roses, for example, that are grown in Ecuador are not coming, he said. The flower deliveries from California are also arriving less often. Gregory said the suppliers limited the number of runs the trucks complete and he now drives to Cadillac to pick up flowers.
“It is more selective,” Gregory said. “I wrote something on Facebook to order ahead because it takes some time to get our product in.”
Wendy VanderWall and Cheryl Freeman, sisters who co-own All Occasions Events & Floral, said they ask people to put in their orders ahead so they can get the flowers in on time.
“It’s difficult to get certain types of flowers right now. We can get roses, but are limited on color choices,” Freeman said. “It changes week to week.”
Even some local growers were not able to supply the usual types of flowers, she said.
“Some of the local farms who plant flowers weren’t open when we asked — farmers who grow zinnias and other types of flowers,” Freeman said. “The cut flower industry is taking a hit.”
The All Occasions website has a “designer’s choice disclaimer” that states some flower choices might be unavailable for arrangements and substituted for ones in the same price range.
“It’s hard to stock the cooler right now,” she said. “We have to be careful not to stock expensive flowers that might not be purchased.”
Bela Floral owner, Donna Knudsen, said her store is open by appointment or phone consultation. She has received many last-minute calls from people who didn’t realize the holiday was coming up. Bela Floral sells urn liners, easels as well as both silk and fresh flowers.
Knudsen took to making videos about her products which she posts on her Facebook page.
“We are adapting to a new way of doing business,” she said.
Florists, like other businesses in Michigan, had to change the way they serve customers.
The three Ludington florists are offering a range of services including cemetery deliveries, contactless door deliveries and curbside pick up.
The shops were able to sell flowers for Mother’s Day, one of the most profitable holidays for floral stores, Gregory told the Daily News.
“I had to sell more plants and planters than years prior (for Mother’s Day),” he said. “It wasn’t a bad thing, it was just unusual.”
Gregory said his daily sales were down and events like weddings and funerals that were rescheduled also impacted flower sales, he said.
“All of these funerals, once they get the OK to hold services, then it’s going to be a question of if we can’t get that many flowers of what they want in,” he said.
On a positive note, Freeman said they have witnessed people in the community “loving each other” by sending surprise flowers as gifts.
“There is a secret pal group that sends gifts,” she said. “Some ladies started a group like what churches used to do with secret prayer pals.”
There is also a Facebook group that purchases flowers from All Occasion called “Wined by Friends Mason County, MI.”
Members post their address and drink of choice then have the chance to “wine and dash” another person in the group.
“We don’t deliver the wine, but they purchase flowers to go with it,” Freeman said. “People are getting creative.”