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Patronize local Phoenix florists for Valentine's Day wishes

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Anyone, who suffered the embarrassment of having poor quality flowers delivered on that special occasion, appreciates the value of good customer service in the florist industry. With Valentine’s Day arriving on Friday, it is important to patronize those Phoenix florists, who provide excellent products and service.

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Longtime Phoenicians remember the Japanese flower gardens that graced Baseline Road, from 30th to 48th Streets during the 1950’s-1970’s. Urbanization eliminated the fields, and other factors endanger the Phoenix florists, who were the major outlet for those gardens.

Online purchasing, through large floral wire companies, reduces profits for local florists. Botched orders can also increase prices and decrease customer satisfaction. The recession and competition from supermarkets aggravated the pressure on local florists.

Thirteen-year-old Donald Storrs earned his allowance working in his father’s Denver greenhouses. Ten years ago, he purchased Wolz's Florist, which has been in Glendale 35 years. During the recession, his corporate orders and average individual sales decreased. But, Storrs has seen a major increase in wedding sales (from 20 to 180 in 10 years) and benefits from Internet. “Now almost everyone is using Pinterest, coming in with pictures of exactly what they want for their weddings,” he says.

Tony Medlock and his mother Jodi have managed PJs Flowers & Events for 17 years. Corporate and wedding sales are most of their sales. During the recession, they reduced space and utilized barter to cover operational expenses. But they face a new threat: the Light Rail construction has reduced their walk-in traffic by 30%.

Storrs and the Medlocks pride themselves on outstanding personalized customer service. Both benefit from networking. Storrs is active in the North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. “I always tell our employees that we are not in the flower business; we are in the people and emotion business,” said Storrs. Medlock said, “Networking has increased our sales 30%.”

Creativity is another attraction for them. Storrs recalls creating a four-foot-tall Corona bottle made of flowers for the funeral of a young man. Award-winning Tony Medlock will be competing in the 2014 Society of American Florists’ All-Star Challenge competition.

As Local First Arizona often says $42 of every $100 spent with local vendors stays in Arizona vs. $13 of those dollars spent with national chains. Before you pick up that phone tomorrow, visit a local florist, speak with a knowledgeable owner, and your loved one will get the original, beautiful, quality arrangement he/she deserves.

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