Local business turns surplus into positive

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March 3, 2015 8:15 AM

From Feb. 16 to 25, Kelly-Lynn Joy (far left), Leeanna Shostak (far right) and the Grower Direct staff gave free flowers to customers who contributed to their food drive. - Alex Chippin Photo

Leftover flowers fuel a great cause

Love does have a price after all, and apparently it was too expensive for Lloydminster this Valentine’s season.

“It’s heartbreaking to throw perfectly good flowers out,” said Kelly-Lynn Joy, owner of the Grower Direct Fresh Cut Flowers shop in Lloydminster.

That’s why instead of discarding the sizable surplus of unsold flowers following a slow Valentine’s season, Joy gave them away as part of a charitable food drive. From Feb. 16 to 25, her store offered a free bouquet of flowers to anyone who made a $10 donation or dropped off $10 worth of non-perishable food items. All proceeds will be sent to the city’s Salvation Army Food Bank.

Joy said that at first public response was slow, but picked up significantly after she posted a sign outside the store that advertised the food-for-flowers drive. She estimates the shop racked in about $300 in cash and at least $1,500 worth of food.

Joy credits the idea to run a food-for-flowers drive to staff member Leeanna Shostak, who said that she saw the excess inventory as an opportunity to let “The ladies that never got flowers for Valentine’s have flowers, plus bring in food for families in need.”

A faltering local economy and Valentine’s Day snowstorm delivered a huge punch to flower sales this Valentine’s season.

“We probably sold about 25 per cent less this year than we did last year,” said Joy.

Although Joy acknowledged that she over-ordered flowers for Cupid’s holiday, she wasn’t completely alarmed with how the sales panned out. “We actually started to notice a slowdown just before Christmas,” she said. “It’s always a gamble when you do Valentine’s ordering.”

In addition to the food drive, Joy said she gifted several flowers to local institutions like the Hemstock Assisted Living Residence, the Pioneer Lodge retirement home and other businesses. She gave out different types of flowers, including roses, daisies, lilies, tulips and carnations.

“We thought this would be a good way to give back to the community,” said Joy, who despite getting hit by the February blues, managed to spread St. Valentine’s spirit.

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