The story of this year’s Mother’s Day, according to wholesalers? High demand, tight supply —and weather issues that affected key flowers.
Pam Uranga, purchasing director of Mayesh Wholesale Florist, headquartered in Los Angeles, said “roses always seem to be fairly tight for Mother’s Day,” and they were again this year. More surprising, she said, was the fact that “items like carnations and minis hit a few weeks early, so production was really tight, and continues to be so” as of early June.
Uranga noted that that some California crops, including snaps, also hit early, but, she added, “the nice thing about Mother’s Day is … customers are willing to use something else. Without having such an intense focus on one flower, i.e. the rose at Valentine’s Day, and so many beautiful options, it’s not so painful when a few things are tight.”
Unusual weather also brought some nice surprises, in the form of peonies and other seasonal crops in Oregon “which hit early and totally helped sales for Mother’s Day,” Uranga said.
In Chicago, Gustavo Gilchrist, president of Kennicott Brothers, another member of the Wholesalers Council, said it was a “good holiday overall, with tight supply, specially on carnations and some poms.”
Steve Catando, purchasing manager of DV Flora, headquartered in Sewell, New Jersey, said “cloudy, damp” days around Bogotá, Colombia, “had negative effects on flowers and flower growers” creating challenges in terms of quality, supply and prevention of botrytis.
Overall, he said, “there simply were not enough of some very key and basic flowers,” including carnations, roses, pink alstroemeria and blue hydrangea. DV Flora “met demand and increased sales significantly” thanks to its ability to source from growers around the world, he said.
Wholesalers Council Member Oscar Fernandez, sales manager of Equiflor/Rio Roses in Miami, agreed that flower production was tight but said that from his perspective “Mother’s Day went well and the production of flowers was on time.”
“The demand was great and thanks to proms, graduations and weddings the market has continued to remain very active,” he said.
Gilchrist agreed. “[We saw] strong demand during and after the holiday,” he said. “There’s no time to rest as we go straight into our busiest wedding season here in the Midwest.”
SAF Wholesalers Council member Nick Fronduto, owner of Jacobson Floral Supply Inc. in Boston, said he had a “great” Mother’s Day with double digit sales increases. He pointed out that the year’s springtime holiday calendar also made 2016 unique.
“With Easter landing early this year [on March 27], it gave both our customers and the buying public more time to focus and plan for [Mother’s Day], which resulted in robust activity,” he said.
One downside to that early Easter? “The weather in late March is not conducive for outdoor planting, thus putting a damper on sales of related products,” Fronduto said.
Read more about florists’ holiday results.