Town & Country Markets, a six-location chain of neighborhood grocery stores in the greater Seattle area, has been one of our most consistent partners for celebrating American Flowers Week each year.
Led by Melanie Cherry, floral category manager, each floral department across the company put their personal spin on decorations and displays, all with the goal of driving sales and engaging shoppers who are inspired by local, Washington-grown flowers.
Here is how two of the floral managers created buzz and excitement in 2019. We asked Grace Hensley, a local photographer, blogger and container design expert to stop by and capture these photos at T & C’s Central Market Poulsbo and at Town & Country Bainbridge Island. Kudos to each manager, who I’ll mention below. Can’t wait to see what they create for 2020!
Josh Hessler, floral department manager at Central Market Poulsbo, shares this background:
At Poulsbo, we got excited about British Flowers last year and the floral couture gowns and dresses we saw during that time in the weeks earlier in preparation for American flowers week. Our thought was to do something similar for American flowers week while highlighting our local flowers from the Northwest. As we began to dig into our various ideas we honed our ideas down to two main thoughts:
The first was summer-Americana, including the flag, and some red, white, blue themes along with bright sunflowers and other pops of color.
The second was to create some hats with flower-craftiness creating some creative pops of floral high fashion on our display.
The result was a display that was fun to create and highlighted our regional and hyper-local flower offerings! Customers loved the end results as well.
Many offers to buy the floral hats, and the American flag apron (worn by one of the mannequins) came in even though we weren’t offering them for sale! This interest led us later in the summer to offer a free interactive clinic on flower crown crafting for customers, which was a tremendous hit and is still ask for regularly!
Sarah Swalley, floral department manager at Town & Country Market – Bainbridge Island, and her team put the flavor of island living into their displays:
The department displays featured a vintage-inspired bicycle, decorated with local flowers, and a mannequin dressed in a popular local T-shirt.
Customers selected from lush, seasonal hand-tied bouquets, wrapped in kraft paper with the American Flowers Week bouquet label.
Here are some other inspiring design ideas from these talented floral teams:
The fifth annual American Flowers Week celebration kicks off today, June 28th and runs through July 4th. You’re invited to join the party and share your beautiful flowers — local, seasonal and grown close to home.
A group of talented floral designers, retail florists and farmer-florists joined together to produce the installation. We transformed the 10-by-10 foot loading dock at SWGMC into a theatrical floral stage, complete with lavish botanical draperies and a marquee banner reading “American Flowers Week” (more on that below).
On Tuesday afternoon volunteer Slow Flowers member designers threaded more than 2,000 flower heads onto 15-foot-long lei-like strands. A festive — “it takes a village” — spirit of collaboration filled the workroom as these women, many of whom had not previously met, each shared stories of their floral journey, as well as personal insights into finding balance as creatives and entrepreneurs. Gathered around a table while threading long needles through freshly-cut flower heads onto bullion wire . . . it felt like a modern-day quilting bee. Great connections while making something beautiful together.
We loved the palette: white, cream, pink coral, lavender and maroon blooms, generously donated by the Market and its member growers. The color choice was a nod to red-and-white stripes of the U.S. flag while also blending nicely with the Josie Ricefloral mural that covers the entire surface of the Market, including around the loading dock opening. Keita Horn of Smashing Petals designed two beautiful, tapestry-like floral tiebacks using nigella, scabiosa, delphinium and sea holly, among other blue-petaled options.
We also utilized several sections of greenery garlands, custom-made by Camflor, a California flower farm and Slow Flowers member. The texture and density of the eucalyptus and grevillea garlands added lots of volume and interest to the floral strands.
Early Wednesday morning, we installed the floral draperies from the lip of the roll-up loading dock door. S-hooks and zip-ties were perfect mechanics to engineer the scheme. A time crunch before the market opened to buyers at 6 a.m. kept everyone focused. As soon as the garlands and floral strands were in pace, Emily Ellen Anderson of Lola Creative her assistant Alana Crawley climbed ladders to install a fabulous bunting-style banner that spanned the opening of the loading dock declaring: AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK.
Our favorite part: the F L O W E R S part is spelled out in red spray roses, dianthus and other tiny flower heads.
Thank you to everyone who attended. For those of you who missed the festivities, please enjoy the party virtually, through Missy Palacol’s lens (thank YOU, Missy!).
More Thanks: Lainie Kertesz, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, who brought flower seed giveaways and cut flower resources Erin Murphy, Tilth Alliance, for sharing resources on organic farming and farm tours Suzanne Carson and Laura Ridenour who just kicked off the Washington Flowers Project in conjunction with American Flowers Week and lent major support and enthusiasm for the installation and party. Jessica Lutovsky, Must Love Frosting, for her fantastic and delicious cookie artistry
Homegrown Blooms appears in the June 2018 issue of Super Floral Magazine.
I’m so excited to share the stories of grocery stores around the country who are participating in and promoting American Flowers Week, bringing their customers a new reason to purchase bouquets and bunches of local blooms!
Hand-lettered chalk signs announce American Flowers Week at New Seasons Market in Portland
Love the message: Loud and Clear!
Just inside the entrance, this display greets customers of New Seasons’ Arbor Lodge store in Portland.
Thanks to suggestions from my flower farmer friends who sell to two of the Pacific Northwest’s most popular grocery chains, American Flowers Week took center stage in this region’s floral departments at Town & Country Markets and New Seasons Markets.
The chains adopted American Flowers Week as a vehicle to sell and promote locally-grown flowers during the Independence Day holiday week and incorporated our unique American Flowers Week label to alert their consumers about the origin of the flowers on display. In-store signage unique to each chain’s brand and staff members empowered to “own” the message with personality and creativity really paid off.
I hit the road early in the American Flowers Week campaign to see the creativity for myself and the “Buy Local Flowers” message at these stores came through strong and successful. Here are some of the highlights:
Town & Country Markets Inc. is a regional, locally-owned and operated independent grocery company founded in 1957 and based in the Seattle area and participated with American Flowers Week signage and bouquets throughout its six-store chain.
Town & Country on Bainbridge Island’s gorgeous local flowers display for American Flowers Week
Tags appear on Town & Country/Central Market bouquets large and small to alert customers about the origins of each flower.
New Seasons Market is a Portland-based West Coast neighborhood grocery with 18 stores in three states and showcased flower bunches, bouquets and mason jar arrangements from Northwest and California farms.
New Seasons’ floral manager Katie McConahay (right) with flower farmer Bethany Little (second from right) and team members Alaina and Guen (manager) at the Arbor Lodge neighborhood store in Portland.
On Wednesday, June 29th, I headed to Portland bright and early to see the floral design entries for the Oregon Flower Growers Association’s American Flowers Week celebration (more on that cool program later this week).
There, I met up with flower farmer Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co., a Slowflowers.com member and a Certified American Grown farm. I love how they took the initiative to do something special and stimulate floral consumption during the week of July 4th! The idea has inspired me to work on similar efforts across the U.S. and has laid the groundwork for even more grocery promotions in 2017.
Katie McConahay (floral buyer) and Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co.
It was Bethany who called me about six weeks ago and suggested that I develop a bouquet label that flower farmers could use on their grocery and market bouquets. She and her husband Charles Little (past guest of the Slow Flowers Podcast) sparked the idea and also pitched it to Katie McConahay, New Seasons Market floral buyer.
Certified American Grown Red-white-and-blue mason jars on sale for $12.99 at New Seasons. The bouquet featured red and white dahlias and gerberas with blue delhiniums.
We headed over to a nearby New Seasons Market in Portland’s Arbor Lodge neighborhood where buyer Katie and store floral manager Guen Armstrong showed off the signage, product selection and product labeling for American Flowers Week. Katie has a reputation for consistenly supporting Northwest and California flower farms throughout the year. She discussed this philosophy on a past episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast, which you can find here.
A huge variety of Northwest-grown mixed bouquets labeled with “American Flowers Week” at New Seasons Market.
From the hand-lettered chalkboard signage to the adorable mason-jars filled with red-white-and-blue California flowers, to the abundant and lush mixed bouquets from farms like Charles Little & Co., Rain Drop Farms and other NW flower farms, the message was clear: We Love Local. New Seasons also promoted American Flowers Week it is weekly circular and online. Check out these photos of my visit — I was blown away by the way New Seasons highlighted American Flowers Week!