School is out, temps are up, and people are looking for inside activities. One Pennsylvania flower shop has found a way to turn these seasonal truths into benefits for the business.
Starting on Thursday, the team at Floral Designs of Mount Joy in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, will host a three-day summer party — a family-friendly, themed “Make and Take” event pitched to customers looking to beat the heat with an in-store experience
The event — technically an open house but branded a bit differently (more on that in a sec!) —kicks off July 11 at 9 a.m. and extends throughout the shop’s working hours, through noon on July 13. Customers will have the chance to create a hydroponic eco-system using a glass jar, pothos plant, beta fish, and deco pebbles, while munching on snacks.
The event is the latest in a series of seasonal celebrations that Mount Joy has organized in recent years, to take advantage of customers’ enthusiasm for experience-based retail experiences. Last spring, the shop drew in about 100 people for a similar event; at press time, Jill Hoffines-Herb said they’d already had about 50 people sign up for this week’s event.
“It’s interesting because five or so years ago, I would have said that open houses and events were kind of done, but there is this renewed interest now,” she explained, adding that she’s found that interest really took off once the Mount Joy team stopped marketing such events as “open houses” and instead pivoted to using words like “celebrations,” and pegging them to a new season, such as summer.
The approach seems to be working. “These celebrations are really tripling the overall number of people who come through our door,” Hoffines-Herb said.
A few tips the shop has picked up along the way:
Plan Ahead. Mount Joy plans for about four celebration events each year, one for every season. That plan creates consistency — customers know a new one is coming each quarter — and it also allows for the shop staff to prep for the events. Some events, including this weekend’s celebration, which is $30 per person, require an advanced RSVP, in large part so the Mount Joy team has adequate supplies and refreshments on hand.
Put Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes. The summertime celebration specifically notes that the event is kid-friendly and encourages families to attend. That’s no accident. “We thought through what might be appealing to people this time of year and hit upon the idea that everyone is looking for activities to keep kids occupied,” Hoffines-Herb.
Time Your Promotions Right. You might have a great party or celebration idea weeks in advance but promoting it too far ahead is wasted effort. “Everyone is so last-minute these days,” Hoffines-Herb said. “I recommend promoting events no more than five days ahead of time; otherwise, people forget.” Before promoting the event on social media, the Mount Joy team made sure to update its website event page, too, ensuring that sign-ups are a snap, and customers have all of the information they need.
Mary Westbrook is the editor in chief of Floral Management magazine.