Mother's Day is the biggest day for flower shop sales — bigger than Valentine's Day. But the sales bump may not come soon enough to save smaller stores already floundering because of the economic slump caused by COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders.
Yuri Kim runs Fractal Flora, a local flower shop based in downtown San Jose's San Pedro Square neighborhood. The shop is so small, it's housed in a converted garage parking space. In early March, Fractal Flora closed off its retail area but allowed people to walk up to the storefront and point out what they wanted from inside.
"And then when shelter in place came into effect [in Santa Clara County], we decided to close down the retail side completely," Kim said.
As weddings across the region were canceled or postponed, their flower orders dried up as well. Kim and co-founder Sarah Lim had to lay off Fractal Flora's six part-time employees.
Delivery Only, No Pickups
To move some inventory, Kim partnered with Voyager Coffee, a local cafe in San Jose, where she sold bouquets of lilies, roses and small succulent kits for customers to pick up with their coffee. But a few weeks in, she got a call from the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.
"We had been reported for doing these pickups, and it was unauthorized," Kim said. "We had to stop immediately or we would be fined."
On May 4, Santa Clara County announced that it would start easing restrictions, but not for flower shops. Kim can only deliver. She's not allowed to offer curbside pickup. Because she's the only employee left at Fractal Flora, she's left to do all the deliveries herself, even as she receives an influx of orders for Mother's Day.
"I can only do so much, so we're putting a limit on how many orders we can accept," Kim said.