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COVID-19 Update: Our steps to ensure the safety of our employees and customers

Like all businesses and retailers, we are closely monitoring the ongoing developments related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). The safety and well-being of our staff and customers is our highest priority and we wanted to reach out to let you know that we are taking the recommended steps and precautions to keep our crew informed and ensure your shopping experience is safe and pleasant.

We have stepped up our cleaning and disinfecting procedures, giving extra focus to public areas, including frequent cleaning of counters, consultation areas, credit card keypads and other surfaces regularly handled by customers. Additionally, we advise employees who feel ill to remain home. We continue to monitor and follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, state and local health departments.  

We have taken the additional steps:

  • Our West Location has been forced to temporarily close. Covid has drastically affected our staffing availability.  Our EAST Location is Open...Please visit us at 3701 E. Harry!
  • Masks are REQUIRED when shopping at our location.
  • Curbside Pick-Up: If you would like to pre-pay over the phone or online, you can call us when you get to the store and we can bring your flowers out to you. 
  • Hospitals: Covid Policies change daily, sometimes hourly.  Most Hospitals are now accepting deliveries.  We will continue to check daily and with each order we get.  
  • Nursing Homes: Some Nursing Homes are still on lock down and not accepting deliveries.  We will need to call to verify we can deliver flowers. 
  • Businesses: Because of covid-19, most individuals are working from home.  Several businesses, such as Textron & Cargill, will not accept deliveries except from FedEx or UPS.  Please make sure the recipient is working at the workplace & is able to receive flowers.
  • No Contact Deliveries: Our priority is keeping everyone as safe and healthy as possible. Out of an abundance of caution, we’re offering drop off deliveries.  Drivers wear masks for deliveries. Our drivers will drop flowers off at the recipient’s front door, where applicable.  Driver will return to their vehicle, and wait for the recipient to acknowledge the delivery. Driver will note time and date of delivery on route sheet. Drivers will sanitize hands when getting into or leaving their vehicles.
  • We are routinely cleaning all products. 
  • Wedding Consultations: Appointments can be made.  In person appointments will require a mask due to close contact with our staff during consultations.  Please call to set up an appointment.
  • Funeral Flowers:  Families are asked to please call us to set up an appointment to make floral arrangements.  This allows us to only have 1 family in the store at a time.  We ask that you limit the number of family members to 3.  We recommend trying to make arrangements over the phone to avoid contact.  We have an iphone and can send photos to help families.  In person consultations will require a mask due to close contact with our staff during consultations.

 

Additional steps during Mother’s Day:

  • OUT OF TOWN DELIVERIES: Florists nationwide have different floral availability and protocols due to covid, because of this we are not accepting orders for out of our local delivery area.  We suggest finding a local florist in the recipient’s town. If you would like help in finding a florist, please call us and we will be happy to help you find a local florist.
  • AVAILABILITY: Please read below what has caused a flower shortage right now.  We urge you to place your orders early, we will sell out of flowes Mother's Day Week because there wasn't a large availability of flowers to purchase.

 

HOW HAS COVID AFFECTED THE FLORAL INDUSTRY:

There is a flower shortage right now. The supply-demand imbalance for flowers is unprecedented and we want to take this opportunity to explain what is causing the tight market conditions and how this is all impacting the days, weeks and months ahead. Common flowers that are usually abundant have become hard to find! Common flowers such as carnations, daisies, roses and numerous others! 

·       COVID:  One year ago, the entire world confronted a massive disruption from the Covid pandemic. Many florists and growers closed down, some permanently. Around the world, flower growers were impacted as flower demand collapsed, and nobody could predict what would happen next. As a result, several growers made decisions in 2020, reducing cost and cutting back production (planted less plants). We are still dealing with those down streaming effects..because in reality, demand became high for flowers, consumers valued flowers and plants to connect with others when they couldn’t connect in person.

·       2) MOTHER NATURE: Gotta love Mother Nature, something you can’t ever predict! There has been nonstop rain and cool temperatures in Ecuador and Colombia, two of our major flower suppliers. The sun would show up occasionally but not enough to make a difference. The past few weeks have had hailstorms in Ecuador that shredded rose houses...and constant rain in Medellin that have had water gushing out of hydrangea and pompon (daisies) houses. Heck, they even experienced volcanic ash spewn into the air grounding planes that would not fly through it in Ecuador! NO JOKE!

·       3) LOGISTICS: Also a result of covid…the pandemic wreaked havoc with the flower supply chain and logistics companies that get flowers to us fresh from the farms. Passenger flights have been dramatically reduced, forcing increased demand to cargo airlines for freight. In some case, cargo planes themselves have been redeployed from South American to other regions of the world to accommodate the spiking demand. The result---higher prices for air cargo and less availability of space for perishable items like flowers. Our major supplier has decided to chart their own planes for Mother's Day orders because their product missed planes for the Valentine's Day orders. In addition, there was already a lack of truck drivers before the pandemic to complicate things even more.

·       4) MASS MARKET BOUQUET MAKERS: Several large scale grower/bouquet makers supplying mass markets have acquired South American farms, thus reducing product available to the florist channel. For example, those bundle of flowers available at large chain retailers.

·       5) DEMAND: All these factors have affected the supply chain over the last year…just as people are sending more flowers, because they have been separated from loved ones for so long. We LOVE that consumers have found the value in flowers & plants! This is exciting and promising for our industry and we hope the sending of flowers more often continues! The challenge for us though, is that the spiking demand for flowers is occurring at precisely the time when flower supply is low! 

 

Thank you for you patience and understanding. We guarantee our customers that we had made every effort to get the flowers you want at a reasonable price. We ask that you bear with us as we strive to provide the outstanding service & product that you have come to expect from Tillie's. 

We have been finalizing what will be shipped this past weekend (the last shipment before Mom’s Big Day). Some substitutions had to be made and we have learned to keep pivoting and go with it! This became a holiday of extreme flexibility and “out of the box” creative thinking. Please know we do everything we can to fill orders to everyone’s specifications but, there will be times where flexibility is needed so please bare with us and trust us with substitutions. We are hopeful for a more normal supply level in the months ahead!

 

In addition, we would like to remind you that the floriculture industry can play a critical role in improving Wichita’s mental health as we navigate COVID-19:

  • Research from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, shows that the presence of flowers around senior citizens decreased depression among 81%, refreshed recent memory among 72% and encouraged outreach to loved ones among 40 percent.
  • Research from the University of North Florida shows that people who lived with flowers in their homes for just a few days reported a significant decrease in levels of stress and improvements in their moods. 
  •  Research from Harvard University found that people who live with flowers report fewer episodes of anxiety and depressed feelings. 

 

Times like this remind us how thankful we are to be a part of such a vibrant and resilient community, and how truly grateful we are for each and every one of our customers.  We are always happy to assist you over the phone at 316-687-0630 or via our website at www.tilliesflowers.com. Our top priority is to keep the entire Tillie's Flower Shop community safe, and we will continue to assess and address the how this pandemic is affecting the floral industry as it evolves.

 

We thank you for your business and we hope to see you soon. We wish you and yours continued good health!

 

Sincerely,

The Tillie's Family