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Flower Brokers: The Ugly Truth

October 29, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Almost everyone is familiar on some level with “national florists” who advertise heavily online and can ship flowers anywhere. They claim to “partner” with local florists in order to fill orders placed through their website, and they promise the world to their customers. It is easy to be charmed by the myriad photographs of colorful, tastefully arranged bouquets on their websites, and it is fair to assume that the order you place with them will arrive looking exactly like the picture.

Bait and Switch

Unfortunately, if you have ever done business with one of these companies, chances are you have been disappointed. From the flowers arriving on the wrong day, to the recipient not receiving anything remotely close to what the photo on the website looks like, to the flowers being different than what was promised, or of poor quality—the problems are endless. You may have wondered: what on earth happened? The answer is simple: these national companies aren’t really florists.

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They are “flower brokers”. They do not “partner” with anybody to physically create your arrangement—they merely gather orders online and outsource them to the nearest local florist that they work with. While it may not seem like that big of a deal, flower brokers are undermining local florists with every order that placed. Worse yet, the customer is the one who ends up paying the price.

Buyer Beware

There are two major problems that come with using flower brokers. The first one is simple: they outsource so many orders to so many different local florists throughout the country, there is no possible way they can ever know for sure that any florist has the correct flowers in stock for any particular order that is placed. If you have ever placed an order online with a big flower broker, only to have a local florist call you and ask if a flower substitution can be made, now you understand why.

The second problem is a matter of profit. Flower brokers typically charge up to $25 for the “convenience” of forwarding your order to a local florist. This is a fee that you, the customer, pay when you place the order, which the broker immediately pockets. In some cases, the fee is so steep that the florist sees little or no profit from your purchase. So not only is the florist losing money, but you are also wasting extra cash for absolutely no good reason. Wouldn’t you rather see all of your money invested directly into your flowers—not some broker’s profit margin?

Buy Local, Buy Proud

Steve Papoulakos, owner of Vogue Flowers

Steve Papoulakos, owner of Vogue Flowers

If you enjoy the convenience of buying online, there are many local florists that offer a convenient online ordering system—just like the national brokers do. The difference is that these companies are actual florists, who know exactly which flowers they have in stock, and can ensure that the order you place will look just like the photograph. VogueFlowers.com is one fantastic example of a local florist based out of Richmond, VA offering an extensive online selection of flowers for any imaginable occasion. You don’t have to be a Richmond local, though—they ship everywhere. Buy with pride—skip the flower brokers, support your local florist!

South of the James, By Invitation Only

September 19, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Longtime Richmond residents know the rivalry between Richmond’s “Fashionable West End” and “Southside Richmond.” The rivalry even made it to bumper stickers with those north of the James sporting stickers that said “Richmond’s West End: Members Only” only to be countered by the Southside version of “South of the James: By Invitation Only.”

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Geographically, the Southside of Richmond includes portions of the City south of the James River, including Manchester and parts of Chesterfield County. The area is basically defined as the land south of the James, west of Interstate 95 and south to Chester, Virginia.

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History of Southside Richmond

The area south of the James originally developed as the City of Manchester which was consolidated with the City of Richmond in 1910. The area has traditionally been recognized as a working class community, thus creating the rivalry with the areas north of the river. Today, Southside is a thriving community being revitalized by industry and redevelopment along Hull Street and the surrounding neighborhoods as well as Chesterfield County which is one of the most rapidly growing jurisdictions in the Commonwealth.

Landmarks and Neighborhoods

Richmond’s South Side has a diverse history from industrial to resort. Today the area is a thriving community with upscale homes, amazing parks, fabulous restaurants, multiple retail opportunities and a strong arts and business community.

Famous People and Sports Figures

Many places in Manchester and South Side are named for important historical figures, among them Hull Street and Bainbridge Avenue. But South Side has also produced a fair share of professional sports figures.

Things to Do

There’s always something fun to do on the South Side of Richmond, from great farmer’s markets to hiking to Southside Speedway. Check out this list of fun options.

Important Links

Sometimes there are services you want to know about but hope you never really need. Gathered here are a list of emergency contacts including fire and police and area hospitals.

New to Southside

New to the area? Use these helpful links to familiarize yourself with the area. We list the following information:

  • Schools
  • Libraries
  • Fitness Clubs
  • Malls