Sympathy buyers look to
floral departments for personalization, keepsakes and value.
some supermarket shoppers prefer to purchase sympathy flowers at
other outlets, more and more consumers are recognizing the value
in supermarket sympathy options. So this month, Senior Editor
Shelley Urban asked four floral managers this question: What
types of sympathy work do your customers ask for?
Our customers really want things that are customized; they
don’t just pick something out of a sympathy book anymore. Quite
they bring in pieces that meant something to their loved ones,
and we incorporate those items into their arrangements. When we
make something that’s really different, we take pictures, so we
can show them to families because it’s hard for them to envision
how we can personalize their sympathy pieces. Once, for a person
who was a hunter, we created an actual “scene” with a [large]
grapevine deer and cattails, so it looked like the outdoors.
Some people may think these things are bizarre, but people tend
to like them. We really enjoy learning about the person we’re
making the flowers for, and families seem to appreciate it, too.
Denise Taylor, floral
Price Chopper #175; Schenectady, N.Y.
We send lots of afghans, usually
with religious sentiments, such as the Lord’s Prayer, or
[images], such as a country church setting. They’re full-sized
afghans that family members can take home. We have them on
display in our shop, and customers have the option of purchasing
an afghan along with a wooden easel for display. Most send the
afghan on our easel, which we’ve customized with a dowel rod
across the top, so the afghan drapes down and lays on the floor,
so the entire image or verse is visible. Our easel is marked
with our shop name, so the funeral director sets it aside, and
we pick it up. Usually, we’ll put a small swag of “silk” flowers
at the top and drape it with some ribbons or maybe a little
corsage-size attachment, just to add a bit of flowers.
Mitzi Hadorn, floral
Buehler’s; New Philadelphia, Ohio
we sell big baskets—both fresh flowers and plants. We’re really
known for our plant baskets, and we sell lots of them. Mostly we
make baskets with two plants, but our big one has four plants.
We offer customers an array of plant choices, but it’s mostly
foliage except I’ll often put a blooming plant in the bigger one
to give it color. Customers like plant baskets because they want
to be able to give something to the family that they can take
home and keep as a memento.
Lisa Tapp, floral manager
Albertsons 4176; Weatherford, Texas
Sympathy is the mainstay of our floral sales, and most is family
flowers—casket pieces, standing easels and sprays.
do lots of custom work. We find all kinds of unusual containers
in our grocery store’s GM department—buckets, whiskey barrels, a
bear standing up holding a pot, and water fountains that we
arrange with plants or fresh flowers. But the casket piece is
the most important, and our customers often bring in the
deceased’s personal items because they want to incorporate a lot
of the hobbies that describe their loved ones. Just the other
day, we had an actual [horse] saddle. Another florist turned the
family down, but we never tell families “no.” I look at it as a
challenge and find ways to make it work. We also incorporate
photos and other personal items into standing easels, and
keeping things attached is a challenge, but we always find a
Ann Mair, floral manager
Days Market; Heber City, Utah
Reach Senior Editor Shelley Urban at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 355-8086.
Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2009
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.