Albany florist closes, another to follow - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany florist closes, another to follow

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Barbara's Flowers closed after delivering flowers for 36 years. After 12 years in business, the Albany Flower Shop will also close in March.

Both owners say the economy and drastic changes in their industry in recent years pushed them toward retirement.

Business has changed for florists because you can buy a bouquet of flowers, in the grocery store and stores like Walmart, and because a lot of ordering is now done online.

The Valentine's Day bears at The Albany Flower Shop are already half price. Two Albany florists will be sitting out what's typically their busiest holiday. Barbara Millers' shop is already vacant, and the Albany Flower Shop isn't stocking the inventory since they're closing.

"Valentines Day is on Sunday, President's Day is Monday so that gives everybody a long weekend, so it will be not as busy a time for flowers," said Miller.

Both are retiring, from a business they say has changed drastically in just the last 10 years. No longer is it walk in customers, it's Internet sales.

"Sales are not as good and you basically have to run sales all the time to get people in your doors," said Mary Carrington of Albany Flower Market.

"You need to show your talent now, you've got to have some talent," said Miller.

The Albany Flower Shop would have sold its business, but after more than a year of trying in a tough economy where banks aren't willing to lend, gave up.  "I tried several different ways to sell, I just basically could not find a buyer," said Carrington.

Barbara Miller says local florists need to come together to keep business blooming and convince customers to call their local shop rather than going online to order flowers, to keep tax dollars flowing to the county.

Customers may not realize when you order online only 20% of what you pay stays in the local county. So florists encourage you this Valentines Day to order from your local shop. The Albany Flower Shop expects to close its doors March first.

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