Michelle Kennelly says she is using the challenging restrictions as a time to move to more sustainable options
Tipperary florists are enduring a tough year as the restrictions continue to wreak havoc on their custom.
After the government closed all of Ireland’s independent florists on the last week of March and have only just reopened from June 8 under “non-essential” retailers.
Michelle Kennelly, owner of Cashel Flowers, is adjusting as one of over 20 Tipperary florists hit by this dramatic change of circumstances. Only beginning to welcome customers back to her shop on Friar Street, her business continues to be impacted by the chaotic circumstances.
“We had to close on March 21, what would have been our busiest weekend as it contains Mother’s Day,” said Michelle.
The availability of flowers is only beginning to return to normal. As most flowers are imported from Holland, the borders closing led to a disastrous interruption of their supply. This loss of supply made providing for funerals particularly difficult, as sourcing anything to place in the displays was next to impossible during the strict lockdown period. Despite a return to normal for importing flowers, florists have to contend with a price hike.
“The restrictions have affected our shop as all functions have been cancelled,” said Michelle.
“At the moment there have been about 23 weddings cancelled. Most people have moved forward to next year. This is a huge chunk of our business.”
To accommodate all customers, there has been a dramatic reduction in dates available for next year’s business. While independent florists like Cashel Flowers were faced with these daunting circumstances, supermarkets were still able to source and sell their own bouquets, which will continue to hurt local Tipperary florists.
Michelle has taken the decision to move online, with social media providing a valuable link between the shop and her customers and apps such as Facebook and Instagram proving to be a valuable lifeline for many businesses in these unprecedented times.
Michelle is taking the current circumstances as a time for some welcome change, with the lockdown emphasising the importance of sourcing local flowers and using sustainable packaging which have a smaller carbon footprint due to reduced transport. Now Cashel Flowers has been decked out with a screen on the counter and markings on the floor to indicate a two-meter distance to accommodate the “new normal.” Despite these new changes, Cashel Flowers still has the trademark beautiful floral display accompanied by welcoming staff.
With these extremely challenging times looking to hit Tipperary’s florists for the coming year, there is an enormous importance in people buying from local businesses.
Our county’s businesses are already severely hit and the coming years are dependent on the market to reach towards their independent retailers to help our local industries survive the daunting years ahead.