“I did my part”

I wrote this for Veterans Day 2011. I’m posting it for the third time because I think about the message in it often.

Last Sunday, Parade magazine was a special issue in honor of Veterans Day.  The article “Six Wars, Six Vets, Six Stories of Courage” highlighted veterans of six different conflicts in interviews about what it means to be an American soldier. Yonas Hagos, who received a Purple Heart for injuries suffered in Iraq, was asked “Do you see yourself as a hero?”  His simple answer: “I went and served my country. I did my part.”

Most of our veterans would take the same attitude, I imagine.  They learn what many of us don’t completely understand- what it truly means to “pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.”  To make a commitment to “Duty, Honor, Country,” with little regard to selfish pursuits.

There were a lot of us, for various reasons, who were relieved that we were able to avoid being drafted to go to Vietnam.  Looking back, I realize that wasn’t a very patriotic attitude. I have friends who served there to whom I am grateful.  Because as I read Private Hagos words, I was thinking “No, you did my part, too.”  They serve so that we can stay here and enjoy the freedoms and benefits that we take for granted.

I have friends and have lost friends who served in each of our nation’s wars in the last century.  My uncles were WWII heroes, at least in my eyes.  And my contemporaries who slogged through Vietnam are my champions, who stood for me when I didn’t have to.  We can’t do enough to say thank you to the men and women who have served valiantly, whether in the field of battle or in a non-combat assignment.

My colleagues at Bo-Ty Florist share my sentiments.  Their families have sent sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, Moms and Dads into the military, and know first-hand the sacrifices soldiers make. On this Veterans Day we offer our gratitude and admiration to all those who have offered themselves to defend this great nation.

The six veterans in the article all shared the same thoughts about Veterans Day.  Say “thank you for serving”; it means so much.

It’s Important To Us

I was recently invited to contribute an article for Forsyth Women Engaged magazine. You can click here to check out the issue, but read on to enjoy the article:

It’s Important To Us by Robert Huff, Bo-Ty Florist, Inc

It’s not easy as a bride to decide on flowers for your special day. With each wedding you attend, each website you visit, and each picture your friends show you, something new and different may excite you and confuse the whole concept!

You probably will have chosen colors early on, as you dream about the theme for your wedding. A favorite flower will likely be in your mind as well, and that should certainly be included. It’s fun and exciting to look at the trends, but they shouldn’t be the main factor in your choices. You have a style, and you’ll see that reflected in the photographs you look through. Get what speaks to you. Choose the things that make you happy-that’s what will make you love your wedding flowers and they will be the highlight of your day.

When you select your florist you will know that we get that. We want you to know that we recognize how important this day is to you, and understand that it’s important to us, too! We understand that your wedding is very personal, as is your vision and your budget. The professional florist will take your ideas, themes, and favorites, and guide you to bring all the elements together to be the perfect complement to all the ingredients that make up that memorable day to make it special and unique.

You see, on your wedding day your wedding flowers will take your breath away. And 20 years from now when you open your wedding album and see pictures of your wedding flowers, your breath will be taken away by them again. Our goal is that you love your wedding flowers, making your wedding day everything you dream it will be.

And every time you think of them, you’ll smile.

Where Do You Buy Flowers?

The List“, a syndicated daily news magazine show, recently checked in with a REAL florist to discover why you should do business with your local flower shop, rather than one of those internet companies that seem to be everywhere.

Check it out:

You might also find this report from CBS News interesting:                     http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/1-800-flowers-customers-complain-of-wilted-blooms/

Call your local florist. Or find THEM on the internet if you want that convenience.  At Bo-Ty Florist, we’re ready to deliver, whatever the occasion!Garden Medley - Click Image to Close


A Loaded Question


Recently a florist friend wrote an article for Floral Management magazine that spoke to feelings we’ve always had about how our industry is unlike almost any other.  While this was published in a florist trade magazine and targeted at retail florists, I thought you might find it interesting ~

 Viewpoint by Kevin Vinicombe - A Loaded Question

“What do you do for a living?” I hear this question at meetings, networking  events and parties. Being a proud entrepreneur, I raise my head high and say, “I’m a florist! My wife and I own Monday Morning Flower and Balloon Company in Princeton, N.J.”. If I’m feeling poetic, maybe I’ll add that I help people express their deepest feelings, or provide top-notch customer service, sometimes during life’s most emotionally charged moments, or that I help bring beauty into the everyday world. People are generally curious when I tell them about my work. Nevertheless, I wonder: Am I under-selling myself when I only say, “I’m a florist”?

 More than a decade ago, I joined my wife, Georgianne, at our flower shop. At that point, I’d been playing the role of part-time support for 14 years, while working in senior management positions in outside industries, including oil and petroleum, executive recruiting and sales. Those other industries are comparatively simple. By my count, full service, independent retail florists have to operate exceptionally well six industries, every day:

 1. Manufacturing. We take a raw material and convert it to a customized, hand-crafted product. In doing so, we put ourselves in direct competition with larger companies with deeper pockets, and so we have to be experts in costs, waste, labor, fashion and color trends, procurement and inventory management.

 2. Retailing. Our industry is based on world-class service — the kind a customer might expect at Nordstrom, even if we have a staff of two. We have to effectively and imaginatively handle visual merchandising, seasonal purchasing, product rotation, customer relations, inventory and sales team training.

 3. Consulting. When businesses need help, they turn to consultants for third-party advice. When a bride comes to us for help transforming her dream wedding into a reality, or a grieving family hires us to honor a loved one, we’re also acting as consultants, called upon for our expertise. Most of us consult multiple people every day, shifting gears smoothly between joyful moments (“Super Sixteen” birthdays) and hard ones (sympathy arrangements).

 4. Ecommerce/Online Shopping.  To stay in the game, we know that we must have a functional, consumer-friendly, content rich, ecommerce-ready website. That means we have to understand the strategy and backend of online marketing and transactions — and how to fix things quickly when problems arise.

 5. Hospitality. We live for the moment when the wedding reception doors open and guests have that “jaw dropping, magical” moment, but we also know the secret of great events: make them look effortless. For events, we join the ranks of seasoned caterers, hotel managers and event planners to create moments that are unforgettable and unique, but also in line with budgets and building codes.

 6. Delivery/Transportation. When you consider the supply chain of cut flowers and plants, you begin to see all of the potential for mistakes. Getting the best product in house requires technical savvy, ongoing employee education and first-rate communication skills with growers, suppliers, wholesalers, transportation companies, and delivery drivers. Independent, full-service retailers are never operating in just one area —we’re always straddling at least one line.

 The next time someone asks about your job, think about your answer. Be creative and honest. You’re a florist, yes. But does the person really understand all that your job entails? Or do they have a romantic notion of the shop around the corner? Give a full answer, one that captures your expertise. With any luck, your answer will surprise them — and bring in them into your store to find out more.

Kevin Vinicombe is co-owner of Monday Morning Flowers and Balloon Company in Yardley, PA, and Princeton, NJ

“There ain’t no such thing as free lunch”

Recently, a customer called in to place an order and seemed to be astounded when she was told that there would be a charge for delivery. Why, in her town delivery was free!  We encounter this from time to time, people who don’t realize we charge for delivery or who have seen “Free Delivery” ads from other florists.

In the 1800s, American saloons came up with the idea that they could entice patrons with the offer of a “free lunch” if they bought a drink (or, hopefully, a few). In fact, in most cases the food offered was calculated to make the consumer thirsty, thus the desire to purchase another drink.  I suppose that at the time the cost of the food was minimal in consideration of the profit to be made on alcoholic beverages. Of course, you couldn’t just get a cold beer anywhere, so a few cents more for a drink wouldn’t diminish the demand, and patrons would think they were getting a deal.  It probably didn’t take so long to realize, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that the phrase “There ain’t no such thing as free lunch” came into popular use to convey the concept that in reality a person cannot get something for nothing – everything has a cost associated with it, and the provider has to cover that cost.

            With gasoline prices at $3.35 a gallon and the price of vehicles in the $20,000 range (in addition to labor costs) delivery carries a considerable expense.  At Bo-Ty Florist we consider and compare our delivery charges to remain fair and to offset expenses.  We decided many years ago that it was more forthcoming, and more just, to reflect prices accurately. Charge for the product itself and add a charge to deliver it, as opposed to florists who have no separate charge but inflate prices to compensate.  I’d consider that a hidden fee, not a “free lunch.”

            We are proud of the fact that we can offer this service, many times on a “same day” basis.  One day recently we accepted and delivered 22 orders in addition to the dozen that had been placed previously.  Not many businesses are able to offer that, and certainly none can really afford to do it for “FREE.”  Most of our customers don’t flinch at delivery charges; they understand the costs involved and consider the service a convenience: “How much would it ‘cost’ me to deliver it myself?”           

            At Bo-Ty we always strive to offer the best in products and service, and we are grateful to our loyal customers who place value on that. Thank you!

Oh, What a Night!

Saturday, February 9th was the night of one of the premier events in Winston-Salem.   2013 marks the 30th anniversary of Winterlark, an annual gala which raises money for the Cancer Patient Support Program at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Held at the historic Graylyn Estate each year, this black-tie dinner party is coordinated by a group of over 100 volunteers and is one of the most successful benefits in the area.  








For the last six years Bo-Ty Florist has been proud to help with the lavish floral decorations that have become an significant part of the luxurious affair.  Our designers are excited to lend their talents to the hard working committee that organizes this function.  Our own Glenna Dawson and Karl Hastings, Jr. serve on that committee, and Karl especially puts a lot of his own time and energy into making it a night to remember.   We feel that this is an important way that we can “give back” to the community, helping to defray a lot of the cost of floral product and donating our creative talent.

At Bo-Ty Florist we decorate and make beautiful floral designs for all sorts of parties, but we are not often a part of the festivities as guests.  Winterlark is one that we get to attend and enjoy the beauty of the flowers from the “other side.” 



This year many of the centerpieces were pinpointed with light, which really made them come alive.

Flowers throughout the estate simply added a special touch to the elegant setting.  It’s just not a party without flowers!

The way to a woman’s heart

We wanted to share with you this interesting article from Florint, the International Florist Organisation.

The way to a woman’s heart is paved with flowers 

Receiving a bouquet of flowers makes a woman more receptive to romance; a fact few people would dispute. It turns out, however, that just standing near flowers already makes a vast difference in the way women respond to a romantic inquiry.

Merely standing in the vicinity of a florist shop has a significant effect on the way in which women respond to a man’s advances, the study by a team of psychologists from France’s University of South Brittany found. And the difference is in fact marked enough to warrant being taken seriously by any prospective or struggling Romeo.

In practice, the scholars enlisted five young and attractive men to approach random women between 18 and 25 of age on the street. They were to introduce themselves, give a compliment and subsequently ask for the phone number of the lady in question, to invite them for drinks later.

Of the 600 women approached in said manner, 144 indeed gave their phone number to the eligible bachelor, when asked outside a flower shop: nearly one in four. But when asked outside a bakery, only one in seven agreed, whereas when asked outside a shoe shop, a meager one in ten agreed to the romantic request.

“Flowers reflect our emotions and moods. They often convey feelings of compassion, regret, merriment or even romance. The results confirm the effect of exposure to flowers on receptivity to romantic request,” the scientific study therefore concluded.

As our colleagues from Florist & Wholesale Buyer signal, the findings – which have to do with the psychological phenomenon known as behavioral priming – mimic the results from an earlier study. That found that female students who had watched a video of a man responded much more positively to his subsequent advances if said viewing took place in a flower-adorned room.  

The complete findings of the intriguing research study have been published in The Journal of Social Psychology.

Pick us!

Last year Winston-Salem Journal readers chose Bo-Ty Florist as the favorite florist in the Reader’s Choice Awards.  We were thrilled to be recognized as the city’s top florist!


It’s time for the 2012 Reader’s Choice Awards, and we hope we’re still your #1 pick.  So please take a moment to vote at http://readerschoicejournalnow.com.  It’s fun to vote for all your favorites in over 100 categories. The deadline for voting is Sunday, July 8th.

We are grateful for our friends and customers who help us to be the best.

Memorial Day

What does Memorial Day mean to you?  For so many of us, it means a long weekend, picnics and barbecues, big sales and pool openings.  The beginning of summer fun. 

Memorial Day used to be a solemn day of remembrance honoring those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. Businesses closed for the day. Towns held parades that ended at the cemetery, where speeches were made and prayers offered. People took the time that day to clean and decorate with flowers and flags the graves of those who died in service to their country.

The observance began as Decoration Day, first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.  After World War II it evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all conflicts.


Some think of the day as a time to recognize and pay tribute to all men and women who have served in the military, and it is very noble to honor them (Please see I did my part.) But those veterans would be the first to remind us that Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the fallen – the friends and comrades that they served beside who gave their lives.

At Bo-Ty Florist, we will be closed for the holiday, and we will enjoy our time off and our activities that go with it.  But we will try to pause to acknoledge the importance of the day, and to cherish the memory of those  whose lives must be remembered.

Many of us may not have known someone who made the ultimate sacrifice, but we all know the freedoms and privileges for which we owe a debt of gratitude to those valiant men and women.

Take time, this holiday weekend, to reflect on the true meaning of the day.  We cannot pay the debt, but we can honor our duty to never forget.