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Mother’s Day 2017 — a lot of hard work brings a lot of smiles

“It was our biggest day ever!” Ashley Dimmit told The Produce News, as she described Mother’s Day at the Hy-Vee store in New Hope, MN, where she manages the floral department. “The weather was beautiful and we were so busy — the customers just kept coming.”

Other supermarket floral directors I contacted after the holiday shared Dimmit’s enthusiasm.

“Mother’s Day was great,” Bradley Gaines, director of floral at United Supermarkets/Market Street in Lubbock, TX, told The Produce News. “We had a great increase and great numbers — double digits. I think everyone was in that trend and that was exciting to see.”

MOTHERS-DAY-2017-1This Hy-Vee floral department in New Hope, MN, was fully stocked and ready for a busy Mother’s Day 2017 weekend.Mother’s Day is the single biggest U.S. floral holiday and fresh flowers are the most popular Mother’s Day floral gift. About 35 percent of Americans reported buying flowers and plants this year and of those buyers, 88 percent purchased fresh flowers as a gift, according to the Society of American Florists Mother’s Day Purchase Study of Consumers, Ipsos Public Affairs. Supermarkets/grocery stores were the leading outlets for Mother’s Day floral purchases, with a 42 percent share of total sales.

Many florists across the board experienced a robust 2017 Mother’s Day. According to a SAF post-holiday survey, about 60 percent of member florists saw increased sales.

“We are finally back on track after eight years of stale sales,” said one Sunshine State florist.

“Our stores did well, with many of them running out of product,” a floral executive who is responsible for a large group of U.S. stores told The Produce News. “Mother’s Day is the largest unit holiday we have, since not only do the stores manage the Mother’s Day holiday, but also do proms and recitals, along with outdoor selling. Hispanic Mother’s Day was bigger than projected so those divisions struggled to recover in time to maximize the American Mother’s Day.”

Gaines added, “I think Mexican Mother’s Day had a big jump for us — it was Wednesday, May 10, and it really jump-started the holiday for us. In all the southern states it really helped — all of our divisions, at least.”

A successful holiday depends on many factors, including the supply chain of growers, shippers, wholesalers and transportation companies working together to get the flowers to the stores on time. Christine Boldt, executive vice president at the Association of Floral Importers of Florida in Miami, told The Produce News, “Everyone seems to have had a good holiday. We had no real transportation or availability issues and everyone was happy with the whole package, so to speak. The supermarket mass-market side seemed to be up in number of stems, and I think most people were very happy. Prices stayed where they were supposed to be — overall, the prices stayed at a good level. There wasn’t a lot of flowers left at the end, and what there was, got sold. The sell through seemed to be good because a lot of people needed to replenish right afterwards — that’s a really good sign.

And on the West Coast, the holiday success story was similar.

“In the early stages of Mother’s Day, product was very tight,” Mike Mooney, general manager at Dramm & Echter in Encinitas, CA, told The Produce News. “There was a lot of stress and panic about the roses being late or in short supply, and in the beginning there was some fear about the diminishing supply of California product. But as the holiday progressed, the roses showed up in time and there was plenty of product to be had from Baja Mexico and Canada to fill in any for the shortages from California production, and plenty of lilies from Costa Rica, so I think it went great. Everyone had firm prices and everyone sold out,” Mooney said.

“Demand was obviously there, with the economy humming and with the weather participating, it was one of the smoothest holidays we’ve ever had. There were very mild temperatures and the late-season wax flower made the holiday. The gerbera flush here at our farm was late for the year but came right in time for the holiday, which was exciting for us. Yeah, I’d say she went well. It was a lot of hard work but I think everyone was smiling.”