Thursday, December 27, 2007

Now it is over.

Sorry for not having posted prior to Christmas - it has been a very busy month at Edgewood and I kind of forgot about our various homes on the web. So, now that it's a little (okay, a lot) calmer, allow me to wish all the Edgewood faithful a belated Happy Holidays and an exciting New Year.

Remember, we will be closed on Tuesday, January 1st and Wednesday, January 2nd. Let that save you a fruitless trip to the wilds of Cote Saint-Luc.

See you in 2008!

Monday, November 19, 2007

I am already sick of Christmas carols.

I must sound like every hokey midwestern newspaper lifestyle columnist when I say this, but whose bright idea was it to break out the Christmas decorations before the end of October? I've been hearing Christmas music for the past three weeks and seriously, the only seasonal tune I have patience for prior to November 1st is "Thriller".

But we're three-quarters into November, so this rant is a bit overdue. The holly and Irving Berlin classics are probably more appropriate now, but with this ridiculously uneven weather we've been having, I really don't know what's appropriate and what's not. I don't expect it to feel anything like Christmas until December. I did, however, finish all my Christmas shopping yesterday. My aversion to crowds will certainly plunge me into agoraphobia one day, but for the time being it's just an excuse to be very, very efficient.

Meanwhile, it's never too early to plan for Christmas at Edgewood. We are expecting our first full shipment of Poinsettias tomorrow, and have been gradually determining our holiday menu for a couple of weeks. November, as notoriously slow as it is business-wise, is a prime planning month. Brenda has outdone herself this year with her centerpiece ideas. I've not yet finished photographing the samples, but they will be up on the website within the week. In addition, as a result of our success with them at Passover and Rosh Hashanah, we're bringing in a new range of seasonal planters - another holiday gift-giving idea. They should be arriving next week and will simultaneously be featured online. And of course, the aformentioned Poinsettias will be given a facelift in the form of new containers and dressings.

Reason enough to be like me and do your shopping early, hmm?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Everyone loves a SALE!

Now that we've recovered from Rosh Hashanah, it's time to turn our attention to the next project. One of our biggest ongoing projects is managing the volume of hard goods that pass through the store. Vases, pots, baskets... most of it gets used in orders, but there's always the duds, the overstock, the stragglers that don't seem to get sold. As we shift our style focus and take on more of a "out with the old, in with the new" attitude, the question remains: how do we clear out all this older stock?

Answer: Have a Garage Sale.

Edgewood really doesn't go on "sale", per se. We lower prices on some things depending on how long they've been in the store, but it's on an item-by-item basis. By having a big blow-out, I'm positive that we can find good homes for lots of wonderful little odds and ends that are still in pristine condition, but that simply don't fit in with our design plan going forward.

The first-ever Edgewood Garage Sale is taking place on Friday, September 28th, as of 9:00AM. I'm hoping all the local Edgewood fans will show up and take part in this very rare opening of the vault. Everything will be priced to sell, and purchases of $15 or more in the sale will net you a $5 coupon for our newer merch. Take a look at our flyer below.

We're all very excited about this and are looking forward to a great turnout. Tell your friends and find a baby-sitter, 'cause it's going to be a party...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hand Cream and Plants: Together at Last.

I built a rack with my bare hands. For YOU, dear customers. Actually, I didn't really build it per se... rather, I put it together. One of those "some assembly required" thingies. Anyway, the rack itself doesn't matter; the things on it do! (That was a weirdly-constructed sentence and I apologize.)

We went out on a limb at the CGTA show a few weeks ago. We found this really special line of skin care products that we felt would jive with Edgewood. So, knowing little about how to market creams and soaps to a clientele not used to seeing them within our walls, we decided to take a chance. I do kind of spend a disproportionate amount of time at the Clinique counter, so maybe that'll give me a leg up...

It's called McBlooms. Using naturally-derived ingredients, including botanicals, this line takes its inspiration from the very plants and flowers you see every day at Edgewood. With so many bath and body concepts available on the market today, McBlooms has focused on what they consider to be the essence of their skin care range: simple packaging; reasonable prices; a subtle, pleasing fragrance and of course, a product that really works. Their Extremely Rich Cream even soothed Murray's mangled florist's hands, which is no small feat.

We've chosen a small yet solid assortment of McBlooms products with which to introduce the brand at Edgewood. There's a selection of gift sets (perfect for the upcoming holiday,) a travel pouch full of goodies for the snowbirds who will be heading south in a few months, and that amazing Extremely Rich Cream that so impressed us at the gift show. I hope you'll stop by and check it out. If you're nice, I have a few samples that I selectively part with...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Gearing up for Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah, a.k.a. Jewish New Year, begins at sundown on Wednesday, September 12th. One of the year's busiest holidays, we set the cogs in motion pretty early to ensure that we have enough product to satisfy the piles of orders that come in... and yes, they've already started.

About 3/4 of this season's selections have been put up on the website ( - as always, under "Our Own Unique Designs". The rest will be added as soon as samples are created and photographed, likely at the beginning of next week.

For our customers who enjoy the luxury of visiting the shop to place orders, the holiday Selection Guide will appear in-store next Wednesday for your perusing pleasure. I find the Selection Guide a clear and complete way to showcase all the goodies available for giving and getting. Our Passover edition was a big success and I've been having a good time putting this one together.

A few highlights...
  • The "Garden Urns" - a combination of green and flowering plants in an embossed copper-look planter. We're featuring three different sizes this season, from a cute tabletop accent to a massive, dramatic statement.
  • Our ceramic planter went over well at Passover, so we're bringing it back - slightly modified, of course - for this holiday.
  • Bunches of multicolored Glads and dazzling Sunflowers. Mixed bouquets have become sort of old hat; here's a fresh direction that packs a lot of punch.
  • And of course, our luscious flowering plants. You demand, we supply... and this season's assortment is lush and leafy, with some cute new containers!

Let this serve as a reminder to call, log on or visit NOW to place your New Year's orders. We're looking forward to a crazy, but exciting, September.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Succumbing to the monster that is Facebook.

Hi, all.

Murray has been so kind as to maintain this blog over the past couple of months... thanks, Murr.

It took nearly a year, but two months ago I bit the bullet and joined Facebook. I am now hopelessly addicted, and feel it's only fair to drag Edgewood down with me. That being said, I am proud to present the Edgewood Greenhouses group, now up and running on Facebook. Tell your friends, family and anybody else who might be acquainted with our crazy microcosm; I want lots and lots of people to join... at least as many as "You can't bring sexy back without a receipt."

Monday, August 6, 2007

Some much needed rain!

Finally today we received some much needed rain. Although we would all prefer this to come at night while we are sleeping, the ground was in much need of the water. Cracks and yellow patches were starting to show up. We have started discussing the need to be corporately responsible and start watching how we use water. We have started to look at ways to recycle the water we use without the use of chemicals and to collect rain water, store it and use it at a future time. Hopefully I will have more to report in the future on this subject.

Monday, July 16, 2007

July - The Quiet Month

It is the start of the first week of the Construction Holiday. Things are noticeably quiet due to the fact that many people are going away on vacation. We will be closed to walk-in traffic the week of July 23, but we will still answer the telephones for orders and make deliveries. During that week, most of our sales-staff have their vacations.
We also do many much-needed renovations at this time so that we are always busy doing something.
Have a good vacation!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day! It is not a large flower holiday, but maybe it can start to be one. It can be very hard to buy for fathers, but maybe flowers, plants or outdoor plants can be a gift idea for future Father's Days or any reason. A nice outdoor planter filled with an assortment of colourful annuals and perennials would be well received and enjoyed by all. Keep it in mind for next Father's Day!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all

I finally have some time to write a blog to contribute. Before I start, I would like to take the time to thank our dedicated staff for the excellent work they did this Mother's Day.
I have decided to discuss the Mother's Day rush. In the post-Mother's Day rush, we find ourselves receiving calls from people who for one reason or another did not like the flowers they had received or that they flowers had "died". I have no problems with these calls and tried to resolve each of them. We always want the customer to be happy. That is the way our business works. The problem I have with the tone of these calls is that we are left with the impression that people think we intentionally do this to people. Flowers are a very personal and perishable product prone many problems as many living things are. People often say to us " how can you do this to me, I have been a customer for years" as if we do this with some sort of premeditation. Why would we carry on a practice which could jeopardize our reputation?
Another point is our decision to stop accepting orders. People call, get angry, plead, question why without waiting for an answer. Customers question why we are turning away business. A decision to stop taking orders is something we analyze carefully and scrutinize seriously. It reflects the respect for the orders previously placed and our wish to produce a quality product, not a money grab. The plain truth is that flowers are a perishable product which cannot be produced en masse, stored away and then brought out when it becomes busy. I would love to service everyone, but the time restraint do place limits on what can be produced and availability of qualified personnel to produce it. It is the fact that we do respect the person who is trying to place an order that we handle the situation in this manner.
Thank you all for your continued business and trust in us.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Local Celebrities.

So we're in the Saturday paper. And by we, I mostly mean I.
I'd mentioned in an earlier post that Maxine Mendelssohn had interviewed me for a little human-interest story in the Gazette, and it appears today. The day before Mother's Day, appropriately enough.

Read it HERE. Don't I look adorabibble.

Friday, May 11, 2007

People who don't vote deserve the florist they get.

To my dear fellow Montrealers (and former Montrealers, and wannabe Montrealers...)

It's time again for the Mirror's Best of Montreal issue. I take deep offense at the fact that Edgewood has never made the list of the city's top five florists, because we ARE one of the best and people should just accept that. Anyway, the only way to be formally recognized in the Mirror is for our customers to VOTE.

I'm very hungry and only have a couple of minutes here and there between answering the phone and processing Mother's Day orders, so bottom line: please click on the link below and vote for Edgewood as Best Florist. Tell your friends to vote for Edgewood. I think it would be fantastic and way overdue to finally make it into the top five.

Vote HERE!

Thanks for the support. Back to work now.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

I have realized things about dust.

Edgewood is the home of the original floor that will not come clean. In our fifty years of existence, that characteristic has spread to every other surface on the property. If you dust something, that same layer of dust will regenerate and reappear within 12 hours. Yesterday, I took on the fruitless task of cleaning my desk. Not only did I knock over a vase and accidentally dial the last person I spoke to on my telephone, but when I was finished, there was virtually no difference in my desk's before and after states. The dust had come back with a vengeance. It's like shaving your legs: if you do it, the hair will grow back faster, thicker and angrier. That was some angry dust.

Meanwhile, I had some bewildered corporate clients on the phone this morning asking me if they had missed Administrative Secretary Professional Assistant Postman Sunshine Question Mark Week. "I saw no advertising for it," one customer lamented. "True, that," I replied. The powers that be really don't do a lot to promote that particular workplace observance. I have a wonderful calendar from the Bata Shoe Museum hanging on the wall in my office, and nowhere do they mention any celebration of the sort. They did, however, make a point of listing "Anzac Day" on April 25th - which is apparently a holiday in Australia - but do I see cards at my local Hallmark for Anzac Day? Who's Anzac? Does he have anything to do with shoes?

Anyway. FTD kinda screwed up on that one. As much as I love FTD, and I do. Big smile, thumbs-up!

Mother's Day is in, like, a week and a half. As the administrative co-ordinator of your dutiful neighborhood florist, I must urge each and every one of my cherished clients to get their orders in early, because nothing irks me more than people who put off ordering their flowers until the last minute. When one is up against the clock like that, you know, some people beg. And they plead. Or they get really abusive and I don't want to help them, because only really horrible people are nasty to those in the retail and service industries. But I don't like to talk about those people. They make up a small minority.
Bottom line, show Mom you care enough to order her floral gift way in advance, so that it's absolutely perfect and you're not doing anything under duress. Doesn't she deserve that much, after everything she's done for you? After she paid for the repairs on the car you wrecked, and looked the other way when her china plates were broken during a house party you threw, and welcomed you back home after that mail-order steak business failed? Hmmm?

Yeah, that's what I thought. Do me a favor, stop selling meat over the Internet and have a good Tuesday ;)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy Administrative Professional Secretary Assistant or whatever you call it Week.

As I enjoy this freshly baked cookie from Rialto, I realize it is the last week in April. And you know what that means, kids... Administrative Professional Secretary Assistant Week! See, I don't even know what the proper name for this is anymore, so I just strung all the names together. It's easier that way. Anyway, the next few days will celebrate the millions of people who hold down the fort at companies all over North America. Thousands of floral arrangements, plants, chocolates, novelty mugs and cliche greeting cards with awkward messages of thanks will circulate throughout Canada and the U.S., and of course Edgewood has its soil-caked fingers in that pie. Between our corporate clients and our customers in medicine, law and various other services, we'll be nice and busy from here until Friday.

Murray gave me this nice arrangement for A-P-S-A week a few years ago:

Now, I think that's just smashing. I think it's important that those in a position of power at least pretend to appreciate their underlings once a year - you know, because some people in managerial roles can be pretty jerky to those they manage. I've seen it happen to other people and it just breaks my heart. Thankfully, working for the family business means that I don't ever have to endure that. If Murray's acting crabby, I just tell him off. Kidding.

But I digress. As I was saying, if you can get past the political-correctness-spawned mutation of its name, this week can really be a way to get a lot accomplished on personal side of your profession. Thank the ones whose hard work make your job easier, whose overtime enables you to take a longer lunch. It will foster trust and camaraderie, and one day when your subordinates rise up and usurp you, you may be able to avoid the guillotine. Figuratively. Hopefully.

Have a great day and enjoy the sunshine.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Jan Van Egmond

Our uncle, Jan Van Egmond, passed away Monday, April 16, 2007 at the ageof 90. He had endured many hardships during the past few years including two hip replacements and a bout of c. dificile, but it was a stroke a week earlier which proved to be the one thing he could not overcome.
He came to Canada from Holland with his wife Catherine in 1949, like many immigrants of the post World War II years due to the slim resources in Holland and was sponsored by Charles Gratton of Gratton Greenhouses in Saint-Laurent who would later also sponsor his brother Dick, our father. In the mid 60s, along with his two sons, Danny and John, he started Hudson Greenhouses where it still stands to this day. They became growers and producers of flowering plants which can be found in many of the floral shops of the Montreal and Ottawa areas. My earliest memories of him were the week-long vacations during the summer when I stayed with my aunt and uncle at their house in St. Lazare. I was reminded recently of these visits when I visited him the Saturday prior to his passing. I walked from their house to the greenhouses which are located in a lot in back of the house. As I walked, the smell of the moist sand and soil brought back the memories of my childhood stays.
Jan leaves behind many family and friends and will be missed dearly. Viewing will take place at Aubry & Fils Funeral Home on 434 Main Road in Hudson on Friday April 20, 2007 from 7 to 9 p.m. The funeral service will be held at Wyman United Church 513 Main Road on Saturday April 21, 2007 at 11 a.m.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Towards Mother's Day

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers in their continued faith in us during this past holiday time. I would also like to thank our dedicated staff without whom we would not be able to fulfill our clients' needs.
And so we find ourselves working towards the next big flower event - Mother's Day, which is Sunday, May 13th. We have some interesting new concepts brewing and a rehashing of old ideas. As much as I like new ideas and concepts, I recognize the need to hold onto time-tested designs, the very backbone of Edgewood.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Sympathy for the Hydrangea.

And so Passover has come and gone - in any form that affects us anyway, as I understand that Passover actually lasts a week. Pardon my goyishness.

Things are pretty quiet around here; we're closed to walk-in business today and most of the phone orders have been for decidedly more modest Easter gifts. Easter's on Sunday, by the way, so keep that in mind.

We sold a lot of hydrangea plants this holiday. Hydrangeas are a popular offering at this time of year, due to their bright colors, substantial size and overall springy look. But spring after spring, we get a lot of returns from customers who claim that their plants have "died". Allow me to take advantage of this public forum to set the record straight on hydrangea care.

Hydrangeas are thirsty - exceptionally thirsty, in fact. Giving them a cup of water a day generally isn't enough to sustain them. When a hydrangea is thirsty, the blooms will keel over as the plant's way of alerting its owner. When the plant is in this state, it is far from dead, and can be revived by placing the plant in a saucer containing about an inch of water, and letting it drink to its heart's content. As a rule of thumb, a hydrangea should be fed about two big glasses of water a day to keep it thriving and satisfied.

Hydrangeas are actually the only plants we still grow ourselves in the greenhouse, and my grandfather (or Sir, as he will hereafter be known) is very protective of them. One year, a rather frantic lady hurried in with a hydrangea that she'd pretty much dried out and started raving that it was a piece of crap and had died the day after she received it. Sir, in his typically Sir way, got quite upset and informed the lady, in no uncertain terms, that she didn't know how to take care of the plant and had killed it herself. He was pretty pissed off, which is perfectly understandable given how much he invests in their growth and care. And they are absolutely precious when they're little. Cuter than I was, anyway.
In any case, it's a good thing to know. And they worry about the seal hunt. Just think about how many hydrangea plants are thoughtlessly slaughtered each and every spring by those who neglect to read the care card. The lesson here - with apologies to Blue Oyster Cult - is don't fear the watering can.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Passover: T-minus 10 days.

Blogging from home is probably a better idea than blogging at the greenhouse. Edgewood is like the Mecca of interruptions. I actually put off going to the bathroom for like 3 hours this morning because every time I tried to go, I got sidetracked. It's all good, though; sidetracked means busy, busy means business and business means money.

Speaking of which, Passover is ten days away. Yesterday I was interviewed by Maxine Mendelssohn of the Gazette and she kind of raised her eyebrows when I mentioned that our two busiest holidays were Passover and Rosh Hashanah. "But what about Valentine's Day? Or Mother's Day?" she asked.

Okay, you have to understand something.

Yes, February 14th and the second Sunday in May are all very well and nice and provide us a lot of much-appreciated business, but nothing in the whole world compares to the utter madness of the Jewish holidays. Maybe it's because we're in Cote St. Luc and seem to be the florist of choice for a good chunk of the Montreal Jewish community, but Rosh Hashanah or Passover bring with them a fortnight-long tidal wave of phone calls, order-taking, running, writing, typing, sorting, filling, emptying, driving... et cetera, et cetera. The revenue generated by these two holidays alone contribute greatly to keeping us going during the leaner times of the year.

Inexplicably - to me, at least - it's a phenomenon that the floral community at large doesn't seem to address all that much. We get these trade publications in the mail from FTD and Teleflora, and they provide full coverage on how to prepare for Valentine's, Mother's Day, Easter, Christmas... but they very seldom touch on the Jewish holidays. The florist serves an immense purpose at these times of year; centerpieces, cut flowers, plants and gift baskets are extremely popular gifts. Most of our customers come in with lists of at least a half-dozen families that they want to send flowers or plants to. This makes us happy, of course, and it's lovely to be entrusted with so many people's orders, but the pace is exhausting and absolutely non-stop until 6:00 the night of the holiday. Last fall, after we closed on Rosh Hashanah, I bought the latest Rolling Stone, went to Rockaberry's and just ate a salad in complete silence. It was so amazing.

So floral networks of the world, let's not forget the Jewish holidays. There's no other time of year where I feel the need to assemble a selection guide for the customers. The selection guide, by the way, is something I'm very proud of. It's like an eight-page menu full of arrangements and plants we've decide to offer for Passover, and we compiled it in order to streamline order-taking and production. As a result, we hope to save time and be able to accept more orders. Which makes everyone happy. Pretty neat, huh?

But I digress. As I was saying, even though it may not apply to all regions of the US and Canada, the floral community shouldn't overlook the Jewish holidays. For some, like us, it's vital to their well-being as a business. For others, it's the gateway to a possibly untapped demographic.

Alright, enough of this. It's hockey time.

Edgewood, meet the Blogosphere.

According to Flowers & Profits magazine, it's sooooo in for flower shops to have their own blogs.

Sort of a bit bizarre, isn't it? This is not exactly the most thrilling profession, nor is it one that the general public is dying to see behind the scenes.

Then again, this is retail, and in an age where consumers are bombarded with infinite choices on what to buy and who to buy it from, shopkeepers are scrambling to ensure their customers' loyalty. What better way to do that than to show them the inner workings of their quaint little operation? Virtually speaking, of course.

So welcome to Edgewood, everyone. Chances are you're familiar with us and have stopped by a couple of times. In the event that cyberspace has just randomly dropped you into our lap, however, let me tell you a little bit about us...

Edgewood Greenhouses Ltd., or Edgewood as we're more commonly known, was established in 1956 in a suburb of Montreal. We're a full-service florist and greenhouse (NOT a garden center and NOT a wholesaler, contrary to occasional misconception) spread over 18000 square feet of land and about 15 different temperatures. And I am its third generation, following in the footsteps of my semi-retired grandfather and those of my mother and uncle, who are now co-owners.

We're not the glammest-looking place on the planet - the most fitting comparision I'm willing to draw is to a large garden shed - and the people I work with (including my family) are colorful at the best of times, clinically insane at the worst. But we're tight, and as much as we sometimes wouldn't like to admit it, we're kind of a family. And it's home.

Anyway, all this will start to make more sense once I begin posting on a regular basis.
But for now, I kinda have to get back to work.