Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

September 16, 2013

Florist 'mans up' with new club

By HOWARD BALABAN howard.balaban@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Stereotypically speaking, men tend to wait until the last minute to buy flowers for that special occasion, be it a birthday or Valentine’s Day.

Apple Blossom Florist owner Mark Merithew has created a club he hopes will change that. 

“It’s the Man Up Flower Club,” he said. “Anyone can join.”

The club has a membership fee of $20, and that fee locks in flower prices for the year at three different levels. The levels — standard, deluxe, and “Wow!” — are chosen ahead of time for different dates. For example, a husband looking to make sure he remembers his wife’s birthday could choose to go with the deluxe level on that date, and then choose to wow her with a larger bouquet on Valentine’s Day or on the couple’s anniversary.

Merithew explained, “You select however many occasions you want to send flowers, you tell us the price point you want for each occasion … and then you don’t have to worry because you’re not in a position to forget.”

The flowers can be sent to more than one person, too, he added. “If your mother is local, we can send flowers to her and to your wife,” he said. 

The club’s name definitely plays up a stereotype, Merithew said, but he noted it does so for a purpose. 

“It’s catchy,” he said. “Everything today is a soundbite, so we play up the hero thing, but it’s really open to anybody. It’s not meant to be exclusionary.”

In the traditional sense, though, a man gives a woman flowers, Merithew noted. Paraphrasing a writer, he said, “What it boils down to is every man wants to be a hero, and every woman wants to know that she’s beautiful.”

The club is a way of achieving both those ideas, he said, while adding to the business in the shop.

“We perceive this as a need,” he said. “A lot of people out of the area call us to send flowers, but with this they can go online and set everything up for a year.” 

Merithew added, “This is a way, from my perspective, to deepen the existing customer relationships we have and to acquire new customers.”

The Man Up Flower Club came about after a discussion Merithew had with one of his vendors. He recalled how they talked about the “forgetfulness” of guys who wish to send flowers. Since unveiling the club over the summer, he has gone through hundreds of flyers and saturated his market with publicity via newspaper inserts and mailings to customers in the database. Thus far, it has been slow-going. However, Merithew chalked that up to the season in which the club debuted.

“People enjoy the summer here because it doesn’t last too long,” he said. “Getting flowers probably wasn’t on their mind.”

Those who decide to join the club are in it for a year from the date of signing up. The designs showcased on the brochures are an example of what Apple Blossom designer Lisa Trippensee can do, Merithew said.

“Most of what Lisa does is fairly unique,” he said. “The bouquets are designed to the value chosen, and if a customer wants purples and pinks, which aren’t shown, we’ll put in the purples and pinks designed to value.”

Merithew added the club “caters to different styles” and recipients can get silk floral arrangements or various craft items also available at the shop.

And with the club giving a person a chance to be set for year, a certain amount of stress is eliminated.

“It’s a way to stay out of the doghouse,” Merithew joked. “We help you stay on track because life is hectic, and there’s a lot going on. Unless you have a calendar in front you, you could forget an important date.”

Apple Blossom Florist’s delivery area stretches from Newfane to Holley and goes as far south as Batavia, and as far north as Lake Ontario. For more information, call Apple Blossom Florist at (585) 798-2421 or go to manupflowerclub.com.