Florist hopes to blossom with new partners, strategy

FORT COLLINS – Longtime Fort Collins florist Palmer Flowers has announced a new partnership – with five of its current employees acquiring a stake in the firm.

The new partners, who have spent from three to 30 years with the company, include manager Sue Charles, fresh department supervisor Patsy Deines, accounting supervisor Lisa Stadele, wedding and event designer Susan Stockwell and general manager and buyer Michele Adams.

“I’m appreciative for the opportunity and excited for the challenges ahead,” said Adams, who has worked for Palmer Flowers for more than 30 years. “It’s a continuation of great relationships that will allow us to expand on what we’re already doing and grow as a business.”

Store owner Spiro Palmer said the partners were brought on to help expand the company – it hopes to add three new stores in the next two years – as well as to boost its community involvement and help launch the Northern Colorado Floral Association.

“We’re very excited for this partnership,” Palmer said. “The individuals we have brought on are the best of the best when it comes to talent, hard work and ethics.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, consumers in the United States spent $34.3 billion on floral products in 2012. The estimate includes bedding and garden plants along with cut flowers, indoor green and flowering plants and other related products.

Since the recession began in 2008, however, the industry has struggled and has seen considerable consolidation. Small-business florists have had to compete with consumers making orders online and by telephone with companies such as 1-800-FLOWERS, which then relay the orders to the flower shop.

Palmer said florists receive 27 percent to 35 percent less in profit when consumers don’t order directly through the store.

“There’s been so much competition in the last 10 years,” he said. “We want to educate the public and bring consumer awareness of the small businesses in the floral industry.”

Palmer Flowers is working with the Lil Flower Shop of Windsor and Forever Flowers of Loveland to launch the Northern Colorado Floral Association, which will follow national trends, provide education and work to promote local consumerism.

Palmer Flowers originally was opened by Spiro and Angela Palmer in downtown Fort Collins in 1976. They expanded in 1982 and moved to their current location at 3710 Mitchell Drive.
Palmer Flowers expanded again in 2010 and purchased Paul Wood Florist, which has a location at 111 W. Olive St. in downtown Fort Collins.

Palmer believes the new partnership will help grow the business even more in the coming years.

“For a long time we have wanted our employees to be a part of the business directly,” he said. “They have helped us build it where it is today and will help us take it to the next level.”

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