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.