Many florists regard summer as a drag: daily orders slow, no major gift giving holidays occur, and everyone seems to operate in vacation mode.
But for Carolyn and Vince Butera, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, summer is the best. It’s a time to turn customers into friends and to bond with fellow small business owners in their community.
The owners of Butera the Florist in York, Pa., host an annual summer party, inviting York residents to shop after hours, enjoy some gourmet goodies, and just hang out.
“We are part of a greater community,” said Carolyn Butera. “We do the party to provide an environment where everyone is welcome and to get people into our physical store who might not have been there before.”
Once people are in store, the Buteras can showcase their brand, both in terms of their “original botanical artistry,” as well as their personalities, values and service. At this year’s event, for instance, they talked up their new CSA (“Community Support ARTiculture”) program, from which they donate a portion of proceeds to a local inner city school, as well as a new school opening in Ethiopia.
Some guests shop, but ringing up the cash register is secondary to the staff’s goal of building relationships, which generates a lifetime of sales rather than just one profitable night.
Their latest event, held last Friday, had 75 attendees. It featured a food truck run by Mad Dash, a local restaurant beloved for its artisan grilled cheese sandwiches and fancy milkshakes. (Warning: do not click on link if you’re hungry!) Mad Dash offered samples in addition to selling food and frozen drinks.
The Buteras also partnered with six other vendors, including a jewelry store and a photographer, to offer an event package worth $1,000. (Attendance was mandatory to enter.)
“We have co-marketed with other businesses for the past 14 years,” Butera said. “Co-marketing allows us to have food at our event, but not incur the cost, which would be prohibitive for us to do right now!” Companies like Mad Dash rarely hesitate to participate, realizing that it earns them new fans.
Tell us: Do you do anything special at your shop during the summer?