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professional staff

                                                                                   In addition to providing dazzling flowers for shoppers to grab
                                                                                and go, the departments offer a full array of services, from custom
                                                                                designs to prom, sympathy and wedding work. The professional,
                                                                                knowledgeable staff, which includes both award-winning designers
                                                                                as well as florists accredited by the American Institute of Floral
                                                                                Designers (AIFD), plays a huge role in the operation’s success,
                                                                                Alice remarks.

                                                                                   “I am truly fortunate to have a strong staff that takes pride and
                                                                                ownership of their floral shops,” she comments. “Without them,
                                                                                the floral program is really just a department that features flowers
                                                                                within a grocery store.”

                                                                                   Gelson’s culture of exceptional service is evident in the floral
                                                                                departments, where managers, some of whom have been with the
                                                                                company for as many as 25 years, get to know their customers by
                                                                                name. “The service aspect is very important to all of us, and we take
                                                                                it seriously,” Alice expresses. “We want our customers to feel good
                                                                                about their experience with us at every visit.”

                                                                                   The service includes offering a signature wrap for all purchases
                                                                                of cut flowers and plants, guarateeing that products leave the stores
                                                                                as beautifully presented as possible. “It is truly a florist experience,”
                                                                                Alice shares. “This is also a great opportunity to build relationships
                                                                                with our customers and invite them back to our stores.”

(above) This stylish display at Gelson’s showcases some of the department’s     engaging design classes
popular succulent terrariums, which are made exculsively for the company.
(below, right) Floral design classes, like this one on a store patio, began in     Consumer design classes, offered monthly, also are a great way
January and have proved popular with customers. Attendees often bring           to build relationships. They usually cost $40 per person, and each
friends and make the classes a social event.                                    participant receives flowers and instruction to create the featured
                                                                                design. The classes take place in six stores and are taught by a floral
 gelson’s                                                                       manager and a designer, with room for about 15 participants.

      LOCATIONS 18 stores in Southern California                                   Projects have included orchid upgrades, succulent designs and
      HEADQUARTERS Encino, Calif.                                               vased styles. The classes began in January and have had an over-
      OWNER TPG                                                                 whelmingly favorable response, Alice comments. One woman even
      FOUNDED 1951                                                              booked an entire class for her friends, turning it into a social event.
      STORE SIZE Ranges from about 25,000 square feet to                        “When you put ladies together and add flowers to the mix, it’s
      about 40,000 square feet                                                  magic!” Alice enthuses.

      FLORAL DEPARTMENT SIZE Varies by location, ranging
      from about 200 square feet to nearly 2,000
      square feet

      STORE EMPLOYEES 2,206
      FLORAL EMPLOYEES 2-5 per store
      BIGGEST FLORAL HOLIDAY Mother’s Day
      FLORAL’S CONTRIBUTION TO STORE SALES 2 percent, on
      average

      FLORAL SERVICES Full-service floral departments, offer-
      ing custom designs, weddings, events and delivery

      FLORAL DIRECTOR Alice Grazziani
      WEBSITE www.gelsons.com

22 www.superfloral.com / june 2015
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