A BLACKPOOL florists has celebrated 25 years in business by raising £1,500 for charity.
Greenhouse Flowers of Whitegate Drive has weathered dramatic changes in the market to grow the business and build up a list of customers which includes many star names.
Clients have included Royals such as Princess Anne, theatre stalwarts including Danny La Rue, The Nolans, John Inman and Russell Grant. Greenhouse also supplied the bouquets for Elton John when he played in Blackpool this summer.
Julie Finn, who runs the firm with husband Maurice, said the key to success was not to compete directly with the supermarkets but to offer customers a specialised personal service and to spend time with them.
The family business has blossomed and moved on from the simple bunches which all supermarkets now offer, to create technical displays bouquets and displays for weddings, funerals and corporate functions as well as running flower arranging courses and teaching at local colleges.
Julie said: “We have had to adapt as so many other businesses have.
“It is all about customer service and taking the time to help someone choose exactly what they want.
“You have to be much more proactive these days and we have introduced loyalty card schemes, we keep in touch with our customers by email and we diversified with the evening flower arranging classes we run here.
“High street businesses are a threatened species so you have to be sharp and specialise.”
Julie staged a charity winter wonderland floral demonstration at the Parks Art Deco Cafe in Stanley Park attended by 120 people and the deputy mayor of Blackpool.
She and her students demonstrated flower arrangements and held raffles and a grand draw.
She said: “I would like to thank everyone who helped and all the businesses who donated to the charity event. They were amazing given that times are tough.”
A City & Guilds survey this month suggested florists and gardeners were among the happiest workers in Britain.
Almost nine in 10 said they were happy in their job a higher rate than highly paid city and business jobs.
Julie added: “It is very rewarding.
“No two days are the same.
“We get phone calls from overseas asking for flowers to be sent to friends here, we get famous people coming to us and there are just so many different situations.
“When you are helping people choose flowers for funerals, it is good to spend time with them, you feel like you are helping at a difficult time. And then there are weddings – such a happy time.”