Smith Floral & Greenhouses, located in Lansing, MI, has been in business since 1903 and an FTD Member Florist since 1916. The shop maintains an extensive inventory of fresh flowers, plants and gifts to delight customers. Owner Karen Smith spoke with FTD about the secrets to the shop’s success.
“It is not uncommon for us to be doing the wedding flowers for a bride whose mother and grandmother had their wedding flowers designed by our staff! We consider that to be the ultimate vote of approval!”
Congratulations on your 100th anniversary with FTD and 113 years in business! To what do you credit your shop’s longevity?
We have been a family owned and operated business in the same family since 1903. We take great pride in our work, and excellent customer service and satisfaction are goals we strive for daily. Our participation in community events and activities has helped us maintain a good, strong community reputation.
Can you tell us a little bit about your shop’s leadership?
It was begun by my husband’s grandfather and uncle. His father in turn ran it until his death. My husband ran it for the last 35+ years until his death last summer.
What made you want to become a florist? Have you always worked in floristry?
I have always admired floral arrangements, and do have something of a green thumb. I worked in state government for 33 years prior to my retirement and after that began working in the family business to help out using some of the skills I acquired working in communications.
What do you enjoy most about being a florist?
Meeting people and sharing our history with them. Recently we expanded into growing produce, and I thoroughly enjoy taking people on tours of our greenhouses and sharing our family history with them. I also like working with children and helping them learn about the value of growing food and flowers.
What advice do you have for florists looking to attract new customers?
Be open to change and the changing needs and desires of your customers. We are still looking at ways to improve our services to our online customers. The larger your customer base, the more versatility and flexibility you need to have in your products and services.
How do you try to set yourself apart from the competition?
We like to think that our experience and our reputation help us stand apart. We are by far the oldest and largest full-service floral shop in our community and we have second and third generations of some families who are our customers. In fact, it is not uncommon for us to be doing the wedding flowers for a bride whose mother and grandmother had their wedding flowers designed by our staff! We consider that to be the ultimate vote of approval!
Are there any current floral trends that really excite you?
We are really enjoying incorporating succulent plants into some of our arrangements, including bridal bouquets.
What do you value about your partnership with FTD?
FTD helps keep us connected to the industry and to other floral shops who share our values.