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Floral is coming back. Almost five years after the Great Recession officially began, a quarter of floral retailers say sales have bounced back, and nearly half of those retailers said their sales now exceed pre-recession numbers. The results are from a survey recently conducted by the Society of American Florists based on responses from more than 300 retail florists.

Those with back-to-2007 sales were more likely to have increased Internet sales and marketing efforts, incorporated social media, increased their customer base, hired more qualified staff and picked up assets of defunct competitors. What they didn’t do was reduce speculation on product during the recession, defer building repairs or remodeling, or drop customers for late payments, according to the SAF study. Food for thought.

We congratulate Traci Adams of Safeway, winner of the Floral Marketer of the Year award from the Produce Marketing Association (see story, page 106), and Hans Brand and family, as B&H Flowers emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (see story, page 116). Good news all around.

In this issue, we report on the Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier Association’s annual conference, with photo coverage, and look ahead to the TPIE show. We also have an account of a pioneering move to import peonies and other specialty flowers from Israel, especially during the winter months to build a year-round market for them.

Which brings us to thoughts of next year, and the dangers and delights of planning for the future while skating on still-thin ice. Our Jan. 14 issue looks back at 2012 and ahead at 2013, with a posse of prognosticators offering their views all up and down the supply chain. See you next year.

John Niblock is the floral editor and floral sales manager of The Produce News. He can be contacted at 843/724-9888 or jniblock@earthlink.net.