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  • Everything Old Is New Again

    Flowers and Profits®

    Leah VanNess and Lynne Gaffney, Montville Florist, Montville, CT

    Sometimes, great ideas can be found right under the kitchen sink.

    A few years ago one of Montville Florist's customers was cleaning out her mother's house and found dozens of vases, baskets and other containers. They once held flowers sent to her mother over the years. The customer asked if Leah and Lynne would be interested in them, and they said they'd take a look.

    The treasure trove of vases included many wire service specials and other interesting containers of days gone by. Leah and Lynne's creative juices overflowed at the sight of the cornucopia of containers.

    "Our goal has always been to offer different things that aren't found in the mass market," Leah explained. "We began to see this as a new source of unique items that could be recycled. In exchange, they offered them a bouquet of cut flowers.

    An announcement in the shop's newsletter started an avalanche of response; customers brought in bags full of baskets, vases, wire service specials and water picks. The response was so great they had to restrict the amount of recyclables by only accepting them on Mondays. They also stopped advertising, finding that word of mouth was sufficient. Three to six customers bring in recyclables every month. The program picks up speed in the Fall when people prepare for the holidays.

    They won't take any old thing. Vases and containers must be clean, unbroken and not chipped. The containers that make the cut are used for new arrangements and as bud vases.

    Customers don't seem to mind paying for used containers because vintage is in right now. "Besides, recycling is an earth-friendly activity, and everyone appreciates that," Leah pointed out.


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