Valentine’s Day: The flower industry was wilted by COVID-19, but preservation remains a thorny problem
Cut flowers are internationally a multi-billion-dollar business, closely connected to social activities and holidays, such as Christmas, Hanukkah and Mother’s Day, and to happy and sad times, such as weddings and funerals.
Since 2019, the worldwide cut flower market had been blooming. The market for cut flowers, houseplants and landscape greenery was expected to grow rougly 6.3 percent over the five years ending in 2024.
Jackie Bell-Jones, who owns Burke Flowers, confirms it was “not a huge shift” to adapt her operation to the new reality. The majority of her business was already not done in person.
“Business is up (on the delivery side),” she said, although wedding orders have fallen off.
Florists are small businesses. In both Canada and the United States, the average florist has only about two employees. In Canada, the florist industry consists of an estimated 2,822 retail businesses, 5,054 employees and annual sales revenue of $602 million. In the U.S. last year, there were 31,663 florists, with 65,000 employees, in a US$5 billion market.
Tony Elenis, head of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association, said Valentine’s Day although not as important as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day for eateries was still a big one in pre-pandemic times.
“Valentine’s Day is a busy day, absolutely,” he said. “Valentine’s is a day that restaurants are spotlighted.”