Customer Service Sets Linda’s Flowers Apart from the Norm
BY D. J. MORROW INGRAM
WARM WELCOME: Customers entering Linda’s Flowers at 41st Street and Garnett Road are often welcomed by one of two rescue cats who live at the shop. Lily patiently awaits a friendly rub behind the ears. Her companion cat, Rose, is napping in her hiding place. A dining table of rich warm wood beckons customers to sit and relax while ordering flowers for that special someone or occasion. The flower shop is brimming with unique floral arrangements, plants and gifts and the staff is always ready to help. Owner Lou Johnson strives to provide the best in customer service and know her clients as friends. The inviting shop is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
SHARON CAMERON for GTR Newspapers
In an age where you can buy flowers at the supermarket or online, why go to a florist? Lou Johnson, owner of Linda’s Flowers, 41st Street and Garnett Road, can sum it up in two words: customer service.
“Giving flowers is a personal gift,” she says, “and we help our customers choose just the right arrangement to fit the occasion whether it is a celebration, a funeral or ‘just because’.”
Johnson says she has many customers who have been with her for years and over time she has come to know them well.
“We’ve done their corsages for prom, then their weddings, to celebrating their first born child and then their parents anniversary celebrations or funerals. We’ve grown up with many of our customers.”
Johnson and her four employees strive to make the shop comfortable and welcoming to customers and an old dining table in the middle of the shop helps to do just that.
“At one time I put a little bistro table in the corner where my customers could have a little privacy,” she says. “But everyone kept coming back to the wooden table so I put the bistro table away. I think the wooden one creates a little comfort zone.”
Johnson recalls a man from out of town who came into her store a few years back wanting to buy some flowers for his wife. He was entering a local hospital for cancer treatment and said he wanted to give the flowers to his wife “to tell her I love her while I still can.” Johnson helped him with the flowers and told him to tell his wife to stop by the shop any time if she needed some respite from the hospital.
“About a week later the wife came in and told us how much the flowers had meant to her,” Johnson says. “We welcomed her to the shop, offered a cup of coffee and became friends with her. While her husband was receiving treatment she stopped in from time to time and always sat at the dining table.
“We welcomed her each time.”
That kind of personal concern won’t be found at a website or supermarket.
“Our personal touch really comes into play during significant events in our customers lives such as weddings or funerals.”
Along with spectacular floral designs, Johnson often prepares gift baskets with fruit, cheese and chocolate.
“If customers have guests staying at a hotel we can arrange to have a basket of goodies or a floral arrangement delivered to their hotel room. We can also handle the after-holiday-party hostess gift.”
Johnson says she has a number of banks and other commercial clients for whom she decorates their businesses for the holidays.
“We’re very busy right after Thanksgiving so we don’t usually do an Open House. But we do want to thank our patrons for their business.”
For those still doing their holiday shopping, Johnson suggests flowers or holiday greenery as a thoughtful and long-lasting way to send holiday cheer.
“We can do traditional flowers such as poinsettias and amaryllis or create an arrangement using unusual and unique flowers. From wreaths to centerpieces, bulb plants and topiaries we can bring the Christmas season to your home.”
Johnson and her employees support local charitable causes by donating items to company United Way auctions or supporting area animal shelters. The shop is also home to two rescue cats, Lily and Rose.
“We’d like to be your florist,” she says. “Come meet us and our cats!”
The shop is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Tel: 664-6957