Tom Scanlon's Interview with Ron Brown of Brown's Flower in Manchester, CT
How long have you been in business and how did you get started?
The business was started in 1952 by John Brown and Ed Lynch. Brown and Lynch Florists soon became Brown’s Flowers, as my dad bought out Mr. Lynch. I grew up in the business and have been here over 40 years.
Why do your customers continue to come back to you year after year?
We hope because we provide high quality products and great personalized service. Our goal at Brown’s is to differentiate our flowers in terms of selection and lasting quality and couple that with service that you don’t get at the larger flower outlets.
What changes have you seen through the years that have impacted you the most?
In the 70’s and 80’s, it was the expansion of larger flower outlets such as grocery stores, convenience stores, and the like. In the last 20 years it has been the expansion of online flower outlets. What consumers need to understand is, even if they order online, someone still needs to do the work. Therefore, they are paying a substantial service fee for the convenience of online ordering.
What is the best thing you like about your business?
The interaction with my customers and helping them with the “events” in their lives may it be it joyful or sorrowful. I enjoy helping in some small part with flowers. I also love the designing of arrangements. It can be very rewarding.
If there was one thing you could change about your business what would it be?
The one thing I would like to see change is of concern to not only Brown’s Flowers, but all florists across the United States. Consumers of flowers need to understand that online ordering, while convenient, is very expensive both to them as consumers and to florists who are actually doing the work. Online flower outlets are making billions of dollars off the backs of both consumers and florists. Florists in this country are closing up shop at an alarming rate because all of their profits are being eaten up by these order gatherers online. They keep the lion’s share of the consumer’s dollars while florists, who are actually provide the services, are left with very little to show for their efforts. Most importantly, online ordering with an order gatherer is bad for the consumer and, secondly, very bad for your local florist.