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The Short Version: For nearly 50 years, Baltimore’s Flowers & Fancies has been helping couples celebrate special moments. From engagements to weddings to anniversaries and everything in between, the company works within budgets and time constraints to give clients what they desire. That adaptability has served Flowers & Fancies well as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed people’s desire for flowers. Now more than ever, floral arrangements are a whimsical way to brighten someone’s day. For continuing to help individuals, couples, and families with unique and personal floral arrangements, Flowers & Fancies has earned our Editor’s Choice Award.
The flower industry has been hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped the Baltimore floral studio Flowers & Fancies from finding ways to continue to be part of life’s celebrations.
As have many other business sectors, Flowers & Fancies has incorporated safety steps in response to the COVID-19 outbreak that allow the shop to deliver flowers to its customers. That includes curbside pickup of flower orders, noncontact doorstep delivery with enhanced safety measures, and online shopping and do-it-yourself flower arrangement design classes.
The nearly 50-year-old business has become a provider of beauty and joy in the lives of its customers, who range from corporate entities to families and couples — especially the latter. During that time, company President Eddie Wingrat said he has heard plenty of memorable engagement stories, as Flowers & Fancies often provides flowers for surprise engagements that take place throughout the city.
“Sometimes, one partner takes the other on a walk through the city or to a hotel before they’re ready to present the ring. Other times, we’ve seen clients looking to surprise their partner at a job. Many of the engagements have been fascinating,” Eddie said.
Even during a time of widespread social distancing, the flower shop continues to see friends and families turning to flowers to liven up special occasions, including birthdays, promotions, and graduations. Also, if someone is feeling a little down during quarantine for the COVID-19 pandemic, a bouquet can be an affordable way to perk them up, especially with the attached card message.
“Flowers are special for many people, especially now. And they’re not as expensive as a trip or a new washer or dryer,” Eddie said. “They are affordable and simple to see.”
Some partners may choose to send their special someone a beautiful orchid to care for, or a Sweet Dreams bouquet featuring roses, white ranunculus, silver brunia, hydrangea, dusty miller, and orchids.
Flowers & Fancies has done such a good job of helping people create memorable moments through the years that the walls of its shop are covered with notes of thanks for its beautiful arrangements and plants. And the company often gets thank-you cards from both senders and recipients.
“We’ve been amazed by the responses from the recipients. They’re tear-jerkers, sometimes. We save all the notes we’ve ever had. It has gotten to the point where there are too many to fit on the walls or in books,” Eddie said.
While the shutdown of nonessential businesses due to the pandemic is a unique challenge for Flowers & Fancies, the company has always changed with the times.
In 1971, Eddie and his team started by delivering flowers to parties. These floral arrangements were popular enough that people started asking the company to send flowers to hospitals and manage arrangements for other types of occasions.
As that part of the business grew, Flowers & Fancies started selling plants before most flower shops offered that type of service. Since the 1980s, the company has even done plant installation and maintenance in offices and homes.
Now, Flowers & Fancies sources flowers from both local farms and growers around the world. The company also has the largest walk-in flower cooler in Maryland. Couples can browse through the cooler seven days a week.
One reason the company has had such longevity is its long-term employees, some of whom have been with the company for 25 years.
“We have great customer service that helps us change with the trends and keep abreast. We have tremendous designers and people who understand people, as well,” Eddie said.
Those who would like to gain some of Eddie’s expertise while at home can learn to design their own floral arrangements through the site’s video tutorials. For instance, anyone can easily use flowers from a garden to make a flower garland or a DIY flower crown. Watching the Flowers & Fancies videos can also give viewers a sense of the company and its commitment to its customers.
Flowers & Fancies specializes in creating floral arrangements for weddings. And while that aspect of its business has slowed down during the pandemic, as stay-at-home orders stretch into the summer months, couples are opting to get married anyway.
Right now, it wouldn’t be feasible for many couples to ask their families and friends to travel across the country, but they still want to celebrate their special days.
Zoom weddings can accommodate up to 1,000 guests, who can stream the ceremony live from their phones or computers. Couples are even getting creative with Zoom features by including Breakout Rooms that allow people to chat face to face as they would at a wedding. Furthermore, couples are asking their friends and family to do readings, perform music, and give speeches at their wedding ceremonies just as they always have.
Those who get married virtually still want to have some of the trappings of a traditional wedding, including snazzy outfits, music, and, of course, flowers. Many couples believe that flowers make the celebration feel more memorable.
That’s why Flowers & Fancies has swiftly moved to accommodate Zoom weddings.
“We have complete packages for smaller weddings,” said Eddie. “Those collections include flowers along with corsages and boutineers.”
They translate well to the smaller Zoom weddings that Flowers & Fancies has recently served.
“A few weeks ago, one couple had invited family from all over the country but ended up having a Zoom wedding from their home. We delivered flowers that the couple wanted for a small ceremony. This past Saturday, we had a bride and groom switch to just the two of them — at a Rabbi’s study,” said Eddie.
Though Flowers & Fancies has adapted to the current reality, the florist is also making every preparation for its 50th anniversary — and beyond.
During the pandemic, Eddie said that customers can call the studio and explain their styles and budgetary constraints. Then, the company will create the floral packages that meet their needs.
“We are here to assist and tailor styles or budgets. Whenever you call, our answers will be the same, ‘When?’ ‘What color?’ What budget?’” Eddie said.
The company is happy to work with couples if a wedding or celebration is postponed and they want to reschedule it.
“We’ve had many that have had to move due to COVID-19, and we will work with them whenever plans are made,” Eddie said.
At the same time, clients can be sure that their arrangements will be delivered safely. Flowers & Fancies follows all Maryland directives for social distancing so clients can feel comfortable about their purchases.
“We know what we’re doing, and we’re going to follow all regulations when local governments allow. We want to create a level of comfort with both potential and current clients,” said Eddie.
Flowers & Fancies has been so adaptable and client-focused over the last 50 years because it values the role that beautiful flowers play in people’s lives. And the opportunity to be part of once-in-a-lifetime events makes a difference to Eddie.
“We get to be part of a life-cycle occasion. You only get one chance to produce what’s in the mind’s eye of the customer. And we fulfill their dreams,” Eddie said.
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