Flowers aren’t always the first thing consumers think of in summer, but beer and ice cream? Yes, please.
Those two crowd-pleasing options are on the menu year-round (but they’re especially popular in warmer months) at Bitterroot Flower Shop in Missoula, Montana, where Lindsay Irwin and team have forged successful local partnerships with other popular businesses.
Before Valentine’s Day 2016, Irwin asked her team to think up potential partnerships for the store, which at the time already was working with one local brewery (floral designs in a growler). That brainstorming session led to the shop’s successful “Ice Cream Date” promotion (floral design plus gift certificate to Big Dipper Ice Cream, a popular spot in town). Those gift cards proved so popular, Irwin began offering them as standard add-ons last year.
Since then, the shop’s efforts to partner up have only increased.
“The crazy thing is, businesses have [started] approaching us about it,” she said, adding that the shop offered a gift card from a local salon for Mother’s Day and recently started working with a second brewery. “We had them come up with something a little different, and now we offer two different sized growler arrangement options.”
Partnering up hasn’t become a free-for-all either, Irwin said: The shop has been strategic about the businesses with which it links up.
“We have had to turn down some businesses just because it was hard to figure out a mutually beneficial partnership,” she said. “For example, we had a frame shop want to do something and we couldn’t really pin down how we could really make that work. They did become a weekly account though.”
Therein lies another perk of the partnerships — they provide a natural entrée to B2B and corporate work.
“For the past year our add -on sales have really skyrocketed, and an unexpected benefit is that having all of these partnerships with other businesses has led to an increase in our corporate accounts, which is something we really did not focus on a lot in the past,” Irwin said. “Also, all of the employees and customers of the other businesses we have partnered with are so excited about the partnership that they end up talking about it, and word-of-mouth is really getting people in the door.”