Election 2012: What Happens Next?
Analysis, by SAF's Government Relations Team
The results are in and the Democratic Party will maintain control of both the White House and the U.S. Senate, while Republicans will make up a majority of the House of Representatives during the 113th Congress (2013-2014). In the Senate, Democrats are set to expand their majority by two seats. With several House races still uncalled, the Republicans will have approximately the same majority in that chamber as the last two years. In a historic footnote, New Hampshire will become the first state to send an all-female delegation to the U.S. Congress.
Despite record campaign spending for a federal election cycle, the results produced a “status quo” regarding the balance of power in Washington, DC. As attention now turns from election results to governing, a big question looms: Will a nearly identical configuration in party control mean continued partisan gridlock, or can it provide opportunity for bipartisan cooperation on pressing issues over the next two years? More specifically, on the issues that matter most to the floral industry, what do these results mean?
Florists Face Fuel Shortage, Receive Industry Support in Hurricane Sandy's Wake
By Katie Hendrick
Starbright Floral Design in New York City, which operated “with a skeleton crew” when it reopened on Oct. 31, “is doing great as the city is getting back on its feet,” said creative director Tom Sebenius, who reported a steady return of daily orders and scheduled events. The rationing of fuel in New York and New Jersey, however, “has been a definite pain in the neck,” he said. On Nov. 2, one of the shop’s delivery drivers waited in line 12 hours to fill up a van.
Lynn Pacich, a sales representative at Delaware Valley Wholesale Florist, called the fuel shortage “the largest hurdle in the coming days and weeks. Marine terminals and transfer stations that fill delivery trucks that supply gas stations are severely damaged, choking the supply chain,” she said.
The wholesaler has its own bulk fuel and pumping stations that are supplying its fleet out of its Sewell and Edison, N.J., branches. “But our customers face the very difficult, if not impossible, task of finding gas to run their personal and delivery vehicles,” Pacich said. “Plus, their employees and ours face hardships navigating their day-to-day lives, trying to get to work and then returning home to no heat or light.”
In New Milford, N.J., the staff at Wine & Roses is grouping deliveries to minimize mileage and rotating vans. “Customers have been pretty understanding about deliveries not being as quick as before,” said owner Lou Denis, but he described the situation of trying to recoup a week’s loss of business while not running out of gas as “hanging on by the threads of our pants.”
Even in Greenwich, Conn., where gas is not being rationed, Michael Derouin, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, is sharing his neighbors’ pain at the pumps. The design manager at McArdle’s Florist & Garden Center has seen lines at gas stations stretch for miles, as people from New York and New Jersey have crossed state lines to fill up their tanks. “It’s unlike anything I have ever seen,” he said.
Gas is among the many things being shared among east coast florists who managed to escape the worst of the storm. Barnegat, N.J., florist Tracy D’Amico’s shop, Rose Garden Florist, said she’s fortunate she lost only two days of business due to the power outage. So she opened her shop to a florist on Long Beach Island whose shop was “completely devastated” and another whose shop is filled with “muck and broken glassware.”
D’Amico has invited both to use her shop’s design area, so they won’t lose event work scheduled at the end of the month. “That offer goes to any florist who needs help,” she said, inviting emails or calls from florists in need. “Everyone’s talking about the region’s residential damage — and that is certainly dreadful — but people need to be able to do their jobs as well.”
D’Amico said others are extending a helping hand, too, via Facebook. Among them: A Blossom Shop in Bayville, N.J., and A Sweet Memory, a Barnegat baker. Both are opening their businesses to displaced florists to use as a temporary workspace.
1-800-Flowers.com and BloomNet have set up a hurricane relief fund and are matching dollar for dollar all donations. “Donations may be made by check, credit card or a deduction on your Clearinghouse statement,” said BloomNet Vice President Lisa Carmichael. To make a donation, email BloomNet Customer Service at email@example.com, or send a message through www.facebook.com/bloomnet.net; include “BloomNet Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund,” shop name, shop code and donation details.
At press time, Teleflora was finalizing details on its relief efforts, said spokesperson Missy Miller.
Florist Population in 14-Year Decline
By Ira Silvergleit
It marked the 14th successive year of decreases, according to the agency’s County Business Patterns. The tally of retail floral establishments fell to 16,182, down from 17,124 in 2009 and 18,509 in 2008. However, the rate of decline (5.5 percent) slowed compared to 2009’s record decline of 7.5 percent and 2008’s decline of 6.3 percent.
Overall, the population of florists has fallen 37 percent — a total of 9,435 retail businesses — since 1998.
SAF President Robert Williams II, AAF, PFCI, is quick to point out that the decline is not an indicator of a sinking ship. “People will look at this and think the retail floral business is going away, but it’s not; it is simply changing,” said Williams, of Smithers-Oasis Company North American Operations. He points to data from retail florist sales tracker Sundale Research, which shows that the amount of business done on average by shops between 2000 and 2011 has increased 40 percent, from an average of $291,000 on average to $422,000.
“The business is not going away,” Williams said. “Each shop is healthier than it was 10 years ago; there are just fewer of them.”
In 2010, retail flower shops employed 70,575 people. Sixty-nine percent of shops (11,198 shops) employed between one and four people. Just under a quarter (22 percent) had five to nine employees, and 9 percent had 10 or more on staff. That works out to an average of 4.4 employees per shop, a number that has held steady since 2005. Staffing levels averaged slightly more than five people per shop between 2000 and 2004.
With 1,167 retail floral businesses, California led the nation and employed 5,091 individuals, even though it lost more flower shop employees in one year (794) than any other state. New York was No. 2 with 1,167 shops and 4,426 employees. Rounding out the top three was Texas with 1,077 businesses and 4,765 employees. The District of Columbia had the fewest number of shops and employees. Its 37 establishments employed 194 people. Data on all 50 states can be found here.
Only in Montana, North Dakota and the District of Columbia did the number of shops increase from 2009 to 2010. Four states — Alaska, Indiana, New Hampshire and Vermont, plus the District — saw an increase in the number of floral employees.
Despite California’s loss of 14 percent of its flower shop workforce in 2010, it was a relative improvement compared to the nearly 1,700 employees lost in the state in 2009. The largest decrease percentage-wise, however, was Arizona (19 percent). Seven other states had double-digit declines in floral employees in 2010: New Jersey, Rhode Island, Utah, Maryland, Idaho, Kansas and Florida).
The data show that 5,842 (36 percent) of retail florist establishments were sole proprietorships. S-corporations accounted for 5,640 businesses (35 percent), followed by corporations, partnerships, a few nonprofits and others.
For an explanation of the types of organizational structures, click here.
County Business Patterns includes a separate survey for businesses with no hired employees. Most are self-employed individuals operating small, unincorporated businesses.
For a definition and explanation of Census Bureau terms and methodology, click here. Additional data by metro area and zip code can be found here.
Pest & Production Management Conference Expands Hands-on Program
More time for practical experience is on the agenda for SAF’s 2013 Pest & Production Management Conference, February 21-23 in San Francisco. “The workshops were very successful last year, so we’re devoting more time for hands-on small-group sessions,” said SAF’s Laura Weaver. “We want to make sure everyone gets an up-close look and experience identifying the diseases, insects and invasive species that pose the greatest threats to plant health and crop profitability.”
Expert presentations will emphasize both new research and best practices to help growers minimize potential problems and constrain threats quickly.
Session and schedule details for P&PMC will be posted online soon at safnow.org/ppmc-schedule. For more information contact Laura Weaver, 800-336-4743.
Don't Delay: The Holidays Are On their Way
By Katie Hendrick
Window and display décor are likely at the top of your get-ready list, but retail expert and blogger Nicole Reyhle points out two additional but too-often overlooked marketing devices to add to your holiday marketing arsenal.
Let Your Internal Clock Be Your Guide
By Mary Westbrook
Rush hours, school drop-off schedules and work tend to dictate most Americans’ schedules, but a recent story in The Wall Street Journal emphasized that, for business owners, that age-old advice – listen to your body – holds up.
“A growing body of research suggests that paying attention to the body clock, and its effects on energy and alertness, can help pinpoint the different times of day when most of us perform our best at specific tasks, from resolving conflicts to thinking creatively,” according to the Journal.
Disrupting your circadian rhythms can have serious health consequences in the long run, including increased rates of diabetes, obesity, depression and dementia, but paying attention to your energy level throughout the day can have immediate benefits. Working on promotional materials early in the morning when you’re your freshest, for instance, can reap chipper, catchy slogans.
Among the Journal’s tips:
A Second Look at Public Adjusters
Editor’s Note: The following was submitted by John Hodapp, senior vice president of Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits, in response to “Public Adjusters Advocate for the Insured,” which ran in the Oct. 31 issue of E-Brief.
Should you hire a public adjuster when you have an insurance claim? That depends greatly on the circumstances, but always and never are incorrect answers.
Public adjusters work for individuals and businesses with insurance claims. Their fee is typically a percentage of the claim paid by the insurance company, a fee that is not covered by insurance.
Consider these facts before deciding if using a public adjuster is right for you:
Build a Brand Like Bond
With a bang, the 23rd James Bond film will open in U.S. theaters on Nov. 9, and no doubt it will be a blockbuster like all the films from this franchise. The media buzz has already begun, and actor Daniel Craig will attempt to once again put his edgy stamp on the iconic character. But the Bond "brand" is much bigger than any one actor. It is built on a solid and winning formula that has worked for more than 50 years. It's totally scalable, always on trend, and continually innovative. A close look at James Bond as a brand reveals seven universal lessons that are applicable to any company in search of brand stardom. Read more.
13 Buzzwords to Stop Using
Trendy terms and phrases can make you sound pretty smart…until they don't. Once everyone starts to use them they turn into buzzwords. Then they lose their initial meaning and impact. Then you just sound pretentious. Read more.
The Waiting is the Hardest Part (For Your Customers)
Retail Customer Experience
Speaker and author Micah Solomon writes, "Timeliness is a critical part of creating a successful customer experience. As a business keynote speaker, I'm often heard calling on company and conference audiences to remember the key principle of timeliness: A perfect product, delivered late, is a defective product." Read more.
Why Did the Delivery Driver Cross the Road?
By Mary Westbrook
Hiring seasonal help for your shop is no joke, but having a sense of humor might help you land the perfect team this holiday season. Writing in Inc. magazine, Kevin Daum recently suggested an unusual addition to the standard help-wanted ad: Ask candidates to send a joke in, along with their application.
“Anyone who didn't send me a joke or at least acknowledge the request, showed me right away that they couldn't read or at least couldn't follow directions,” Daum wrote. “And I was able to eliminate candidates who surprised me with inappropriate jokes.”
Daum also encourages business owners to be upfront about their operation’s challenges, whatever they may be. Too often, he said, hiring managers or owners move immediately into “sell” mode during an interview. If you’re honest about the drawbacks (long days, physical labor, a design room that favors corny knock-knock jokes) “you may get fewer applicants, but you'll attract the people who will fit best and you can pick the most highly skilled from that list without the worry of cultural dissatisfaction down the line,” he said.
A final tip? During job interviews, let candidates do most of the talking.
“If you need to speak, ask lots of questions,” he wrote. “The more you make the applicant fill the talk time, the greater the chance that he or she will get beyond prepared remarks and show true personality traits.”
Just Say No
By Mary Westbrook
People-pleasing can be a valuable trait in service-based fields like the floral industry, but sometimes a “can-do” attitude can hurt your long-term business. The best managers, argued Elizabeth Grace Saunders this week on the Harvard Business Review blog, know when to say no…and how to prioritize.
“In many… work situations, (a) cycle of responsiveness leads to neglect of the most important activities,” explained Elizabeth Grace Saunders on the Harvard Business Review blog. “You end up filling your nights and weekends doing your ‘real’ work with the last fumes of energy you can summon.”
A better solution? Be unavailable – temporarily. If you need to spend serious time working on your marketing campaign or a planning a major event, don’t be afraid to stay away from your store or tell your staff that, for a period of time, your office door is closed and you’re unavailable for consultation or questions.
“Part of being a good manager is demonstrating the importance of focusing on high priority work,” Saunders wrote. “I can keep my door closed during certain times of the week when I need to get things done without guilt."
Saunders also recommends saving yourself for the tasks that only you can do. In other words, if you’re the best person to pitch your shop to new corporate clients at local civic events, make sure junior staff members are trained and ready to man the shop while you’re out shaking hands and networking.
“Ask others to pitch in… so that you don't end up buckling under the pressure (of trying to do it all),” Saunders said.
Sarasota Florist Shows Readers His Office Space
Congratulate and Connect with Legislators Now
Send a congratulatory note or e-mail to new or re-elected legislators, and remind those coming into office that you’re always ready to offer a constituent's perspective about how business or the floral industry impacts your community. Invite them for a tour of your business and a chance to meet your employees the next time they’re in the area. Let your senators and representative know you look forward to visiting with them and their staff when you're on Capitol Hill March 12, 2013 for SAF Congressional Action Days. For assistance contacting your lawmakers or to arrange a tour of your business contact Brian Gamberini, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congressional Action Days takes place March 11-12, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Register online now so that SAF can make your legislative appointments early. For more information visit safnow.org/congressional-action-days or contact Laura Weaver, email@example.com or Brian Gamberini at 800-336-4743.
On The Horizon
Just wanted to comment that we want to wish our best to all our floral friends in the affected areas. We in Wisconsin even felt the wrath of Sandy a bit. We had winds to 40 mph and they kicked up Lake Michigan to 20' waves! This was unprecedented. You know it is a major event when it can push a whole weather system 1000 miles west to affect the Midwest.
Waukesha Floral & Greenhouse, Inc.
Planteriors of Wisconsin
319 S. Prairie Avenue
Waukesha, WI 53186
Stock Up on B2B Portfolios and Get the Postcards FREE
Use SAF’s Business-to-Business Portfolios to cultivate business clients with a professional presentation. Nestled inside each portfolio is a flyer highlighting research showing the benefits of flowers in the workplace; a discount card for the prospective client; and a company profile form you can use to collect client information. Just add your shop details and it’s ready to deliver. A matching carrier envelope completes the presentation. SAF Super Deal: Through Nov. 30 only — each pack of 25 B2B Portfolios comes with a free pack of 25 matching B2B Postcards. Send them as an introduction to potential clients or as a post-presentation thank-you.
7701 Las Colinas Ridge, Ste. 800, Irving, TX 75063