Flower Pavilion Continues to Blossom in MontroseNeil Hardie
Montrose florist Linda Cooper says her business was one of the luckier ones when Britain was hit by Covid-19.
Flower deliveries to loved ones proved popular with customers during lockdown.
She also benefited from having an online shop, where many of her orders now arrive.
It was just five years ago when Linda started the Flower Pavilion.
Prior to that her career included working in a bank, before book-keeping for various businesses and then ending up as a self-employed accounting technician.
She had always loved flowers, the garden and growing things, but it wasn’t until she joined a local flower arranging club that her enthusiasm for becoming a florist was really unlocked.
The Flower Pavilion opened its doors at the old Inch Bowling Club building at Rossie Island in Montrose in September 2016.
Linda added: “It was a giant leap of faith. The location of the business was not on the high street and it was the last chance to do what made me happy before I was too old.
“The business was founded on a gut feeling.
“I had great help from my family, my good friend Pat, who is very handy with a paintbrush, and my flower-arranging colleague Audrey who, having worked in a florist shop for many years, passed on loads of experience.”
Linda reported the business has performed well to date, probably better than she had hoped.
“Not having a high street presence certainly impacted on the speed of the growth,” she added.
When the pandemic first struck, The Flower Pavilion had to shut its doors.
Linda said: “For the first few weeks it was harder to get hold of flowers, then we were able to work behind closed doors, and then we were able to carry out deliveries.
“We found this to be popular during lockdown – flowers were the preferred choice to let someone loved know they were missed and being thought of.
“One of the most bought items was the ‘doorstop drop-off bunch’ and we offered free delivery during lockdown too, to try and help out a bit.
“When the pandemic hit, I realised I needed an online shop – and I would say that half of my daily orders now come through from my little online store.
“We get orders from all over, including workers on North Sea oil rigs and ex-pats sending flowers to their family.”
Linda sources flowers from various Dutch wholesalers, British and Scottish growers and also uses her own flowers.
She said Brexit was “scary”.
“I don’t think we have felt all the ramifications yet and the prices have certainly increased. There has been a shortage of flowers since the pandemic hit too.”
The Flower Pavilion employs two full-time staff, plus a team of freelancers for large events.
The shop is now back to pre-pandemic trading with weddings happening again, but footfall is still below this time last year.
Looking to the future, Linda would like to have more staff, do more workshops and courses and even have another branch.