Larry Lucchino Cares About Red Sox Fans One at a Time
a few months ago my 8 year old son came home and said I should be a Yankees fans. He is a huge fan of Fenway Park, but the Red Sox recent woes had made him look elsewhere. He argued that the Yankees had Babe Ruth, the greatest of all time.
Being a lifelong Red Sox fan, I was stumped. I wrote a letter to Sox chief Larry Lucchino asking for advice.
Here is the letter he wrote back.
I received your 'urgent' note and wanted to lend a few ideas to ensure that your son remains a member of Red Sox Nation. You mentioned that your son's love of Fenway Park, and that's a good place to start as any. Yankee Stadium is a fine venue, to be sure, but nothing can match a Red Sox game at America's Most Beloved Ballpark with its 100 years of tradition (and counting).
Second, your son should consider the personalities of Red Sox past and present. From all-time greats like Ted Williams and Yaz to modern heroes like Big Papi and Dustin Pedroia, the Red Sox have a lineage of ballplayers unlike any in our game's history. And while it's true the Yankees 'had' Babe Ruth, we did win three championships of our own with the Bambino and had the good sense to use him as both a pitcher and a hitter.
Finally, I hope your son continues to see the payoff in rooting for our club instead of the Yankees. Supporting the Yankees is like rooting for the Roman Empire (or even the 'Evil Empire' - as I once said about our rivals to the south). Encourage your son to pick the good side as he considers his baseball loyalties. We look forward to calling your son one of our most loyal fans. "
P.S. Enclosed is a Red Sox hat for your son - used as bribery to sway your son away from the Yankees.
as a florist in Boston, who has done lots of business with the Red Sox, I have a new found respect for Larry Lucchino and see why those argue for his plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The spring is the most exciting time of year at Exotic Flowers. We ready ourselves for Easter, Secretary's Day, Mother's Day, Proms, Graduations, and the garden. Our greenhouses are bursting with outdoor plants and our sales staff and designers are ramping up for an intense eight weeks.
This week celebrates Easter and Passover. I am sure you have noticed that these holidays no longer carry their previous stature. It is time to change that. It is time to start your own traditions and create your own memories. Our childhoods were so special because we have so many special memories. Start your holiday tradition today and make sure flowers are a part of it. Perhaps you could even take in an Easter movie this weekend. Hop is sure to please.
"The change of seasons in the spring is associated with new life, so bright new spring blossoms are especially meaningful at Easter. According to Christian beliefs, Easter also symbolizes the rebirth of Christ; lilies sprung up from Jesus’ blood drops, which make Easter lilies especially significant traditional flowers for religious celebrations." - BigAppleFlorist Blog
This Easter, Exotic Flowers in both Roslindale will be open til 2pm and delivering. Exotic Flowers in Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston will be open from 11am-6pm. We will have hostess gifts, like Easter lilies, tulip plants, pansies, azaleas and abundance of fresh cut flowers.
Thank you for your loyalty. Thank you for your referrals. Thank you for spending your hard earned money at Exotic Flowers & Lombardi Florist.
Have you ever wondered about those “kosher for Passover” shelves that crop up in your local grocery store when Spring arrives? Are you one of those people who like to eat the “matzah crackers” your jewish friends choke down this time of year while you’re obliviously munching on chocolate bunnies? Or are you simply curious about the “Seder” dinner that you’ve been invited to by one of your Jewish colleagues? Well, wonder no more, you amongst the hebraically-challenged! The sandwich guy is here to ‘splain all about the holiday of unleavened bread with his “Passover Primer”!
Passover, or the Feast of Unleavened Bread, is one of the three major pilgrimage festivals on the Jewish calendar. These festivals are so named in light of the historical pilgrimages Jews made from all over the world to the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate these special holidays. Passover commemorates the Exodus, the part of biblical Jewish history where the Israelites were freed from generations of enslavement at the hands of the Egyptians to travel for forty years in the desert (yes, even back then, men refused to stop and ask for directions despite the protestations of their wives) on their way to the Land of Milk and Honey, otherwise known as Israel.
The holiday lasts eight days, during which Jews observe a special diet absent foods made with leavening agents. These dietary sacrifices were inspired by the unleavened bread, (or matzah) the Jews prepared in their haste to leave Egypt once the Pharoah had finally been convinced to grant them their freedom. The aforementioned haste was a result of said Pharaoh’s multiple renegings on similar promises. The Jews were taking no chances that the Egyptian leader might change his mind again, and anyone familiar with the parting and closing of the Red Sea allowing the Jews to flee their Egyptian pursuers who were swallowed up by the swift unparting of those same waters understands their haste.
The first two nights of Passover Jews conduct Seders, ritual dinners that retell the story of Passsover by incorporating song, prayer, stories, and food. Seder literally means “order” referring to the many parts of the meal that must be observed in order to tell the story of Passover properly. The dinner is participatory by everyone in attendance, from youngest to oldest, ensuring that all involved participate in the retelling of our past enslavement and by doing so on an annual basis become less likely to forget where we came from.
Passover is a time for all Jews to be grateful for how far we’ve come and what we’ve gained during that journey. But you don’t have to be Jewish to engage in that exercise. Just send flowers! After all, what better way to show your gratitude and humility than by sharing nature’s beauty with those you care about!
Want to read about great sandwiches ? I am your sandwich guy.
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The Northeast Floral Expo remains my favorite regional floral industry show. Although I have not attended in a few years, I jumped at the chance to attend the 2013 show. The 2013 show took place at the Marriott Mystic Hotel in Groton, Connecticut. When given the opportunity to go to Mystic, I jump at the chance to combine business and pleasure.
I always try to bring my family along for these trips. Being a florist, means long hours and six to seven day work weeks. My boys love room service, indoor pools and spending time together. Only about one hundred minutes from home, this trip made sense. Besides, our family loves the Mystic Aquarium.
We set on our destination in the midst of a snowstorm on Friday, March 8th. While Boston was buried in over a foot of snow, it was a delight to 'get out of Dodge,'. After picking up my son at school, we were on our way at 345pm. Traffic was a bit light considering the elements. About a half hour from home, I realized I forgot my own bag. No socks, no undies, no pants or shirts; so what did I do ? I could have turned around and basically wasted more than ninety minutes. I pulled into an Old Navy and spent over $150 for new clothes.
The show included a bounty of floral stars including Michael Derouin, Ann Jordan, Jay Schwanke, and Mandy Majerik. Floral industry leaders like Teleflora, FTD, John Henry and Delaware Valley all represented and contributed. For florists, this show is a must attend event. From business seminars, hands-on floral design workshops to networking, I came away with some fresh ideas to keep Exotic Flowers as a leading florist in Boston.
I attended the seminar by Barry Gottlieb, where he reinforced the importance of exceeding, astonishing and delighting our customers. At Exotic Flowers, we are making a written effort to make every client experience memorable. In the next few days, we will be unveiling the Exotic Flowers branded ribbon. Every flower package and gift bag that leaves our store will have increased added value with this new ribbon.
Some highlights of my visit to the show inlcuded meeting Flower Network guru Ryan Freeman, catching up with John Henry service rep Janie Jackson, chatting up Delaware Valley Floral icon Doug Carey, facetime with Connecticut floral legend Bob Heffernan and talking baseball with FTD's Jim Weedon and Dave Galvin. I was also able to bask in Laurie Lemek's best in show display booth for Delaware Valley Wholesale. See photo below.
Of course, no Canale trip is complete without some great eats and cool shops. We were able to explore some cool independent toy stores in Mystic and had a couple of good meals at Mystric Diner and The Steak Loft.
Growing up 100% Italian is quite rare in Boston. I would never trade my heritage for anything. But growing up in Boston also surrounds you with many Irish people and even more Irish customs. My mother, whose parents came from Italy, even cooks corned beef and cabbage every Saint Patrick's Day. This tradition has even carried over to my own family where my wife Suzie, who is part Irish, looks forward to my boiled dinner of corned beef, cabbage, turnip, potatoes, carrots and pearl onions.
During Saint Patrick's week at my house, you will hear us reading the chidlren's book Tim O'Toole and the Wee Folk or watching the Janeane Garofalo movie The Matchmaker on TV. At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we often speak about tradition and creating your own memories. Saint Patrick's Day is an ideal holiday to start your own tradition.
I have witnessed many clients at Exotic Flowers who celebrate St. Patrick's Day by buying green carnations in the Boston area. The green carnation reminds of the green shake from McDonalds. You only see them around Saint Patrick's Day. One client in Wellesley has been sending his wife 24 green carnations every year for more than twenty years, while a company on State Street in Boston has bought more than one hundred green carnations every year for the past ten years. They hand a green carnation to each one of their employees to celebrate the holiday.
So crack open a Guinness, hand your loved one a green carnation and listen to the Irish Rovers belt out my favorite Irish tune, 'The Unicorn,'.
In the 1948 movie, Ladies of the Chorus, Marilyn Monroe plays dancer Peggy Martin. During the film, Peggy has an admirer who sends flowers and does not sign the card. (note to clients, always sign the card,). This secret admirer leads Marilyn to the flower shop, Mimi the Florist, who delivered the lovely flowers. Marilyn's visit to this florist shows florists a great deal about merchandising and marketing their own flower shops, sixty five years later.
As florists what do we learn from this film clip ?
- the card envelope. always have your name and address on your stationary. This is the best way to keep your shop's name in your customer's hands. If Marilyn's card did not have the shop name, she likely would not have visited the shop. Budding romances are a great way to build lifetime clients. If the couple gets married, which florist will Peggy and Randy likely call first ?
- Window displays and visual impact; the florist is located in a hotel lobby like many florists of that era were. The florist chooses not to hop on the hotel's coattails and instead makes their own visual masterpiece in the lobby. The evidence of a glassed-in store shows that the florist seeks their own identity. This independence is one thing all florists should share. Unique showcases and originality set the flower business apart from the cookie cutter world of banks and Dunkin' Donuts.
- Packaging; over and over again we see the lost art of packaging. Great packaging, ribbons, and bows increase the value of an item. In the move, notice how the orchid is not only packaged beautifully but how it is also kept under glass to further enhance its value.
- Flowers on the showroom floor: Appeal to people's senses. People want to touch, smell and feel the product. That is why they came to your store. Ignite their senses.
- Spunk; some say the clerk in the movieis surly. I say the clerk is spot on. She is establishing a relationship with the client. A genuine conversation is so rare in the retail world and something a florist can offer at no charge. Relationships build business.
- Ten cent carnations. Always have an option for everyone. You never know when a ten cent carnation can become a ten thousand dollar wedding.
- I would love to hear any other florists observations too.
International Women's Day is celebrated throughout the world every year on March 8th. The Day traces its beginnings to the early 20th century as a result of the socialist movement. The holiday recognizes the social and political struggles that women have faced for centuries. It is also a chance for us all to show women how much we respect them and appreciate them.
The holiday stirs more emotions in some countries than others. The custom of giving the mimosa flower can be traced back to Italy around 1946. The flowers were intended to be given as a sign of respect and the mimosa's symbolism rivals that of a red rose on Valentine's day.
Mimosa's origin can be traced back to Australia. It arrived in Europe around 1820. The plant is quite invasive and should not be placed too close to other plants. Its blooms are often harvested for cut flowers, honey and oils for perfume. You may recognize the blossom at the premium cosmetic store, L'Occitane en Provence.
Many clients from Russia, Eastern Europe and Italy will often call or email to check on this fleeting flower's availability for March 8th. Mimosa has a lovely scent and Exotic Flowers in Boston will have Mimosa for sale on International Women's Day.
As we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss (March 2nd), florists and gardeners embrace Seuss' inspiration from flowers found right in our own backyards. Pictured above, Gladiator Allium showcase the imaginary worlds that Seuss created.
Summer flowers like Gomphrena show the fluffy spheres of color so prevalent in the children's stories.
Craspedia also known as Billy Balls are another flower that one can see inspired Dr Seuss to create such memorable images.
With two young boys in the house, there are many Seuss books in every nook of my house. I am also fortunate to be married to children's book author Suzie Canale
. Her book 'The Land of Chocolate Cosmos
' has been called 'The Lorax' of our generation.
Dr. Seuss and flowers are such a popular concept that PBS kids has even created an online game known as Dr. Seuss Flower Finder
where kids and adults can create their own flowers.
Dr Seuss has inspired so many creative people in the floral industry that a float in this year's Rose Bowl featured the Cat in the Hat.
In the February 2013 issue of Floral Finance magazine, Teleflora chairman and floral industry icon, Tom Butler discusses four major trends that he sees affecting the retail floral industry.
1. Technology-Aided Sales
Butler discusses how the internet, mobile phones and a florist's point-of-sale (POS) system are used as tools to generate sales. Butler notes that consumers are placing more and more purchases online. He notes that a florist's website generates an important part of the sales mix. At Exotic Flowers, www.exoticflowers.com is not only a visual masterpiece, but is updated daily with new items as well scintillating blog content. The Exotic Flowers website now represents more than ten percent of our gross sales and an additional one third of all phone orders use the site as a dynamic catalog.
Butler also mentions the prevalence of smart phones in society. The Exotic Flowers website is mobile friendly and used by many of our clients on the go. We also work closely with Foursquare, Yelp and Facebook offering check in specials.
Butler's third point on technology focuses on the florist's POS system. Exotic Flowers has been using the RTI system since 1991. Teleflora's RTI system is used by the busiest florists in the country. For more than twenty years, Exotic Flowers has been on the cutting edge of floral technology. We were among the first florists to email order and delivery confirmations to clients. The RTI system is also PCI compliant, knowing that your credit card numbers meet the highest security.
2. Later Holiday Volume
As noticed by all florists, consumers are waiting longer and longer to make their holiday floral purchases. These last minute orders add a ton of stress to the local florist. Exotic Flowers in Boston has been seeing this trend for years and has been pro-active in reviewing previous year sales so that we are ready and able to fulfill as many last minute requests from our best flower buying clients as possible.
3. Increased Demand for Customer Service
This is a no brainer at Exotic Flowers in Boston. We have made a concerted effort in the oast five years to really focus on customer service. Customer service in the floral industry is a continuing education. Our staff participates weekly in the #custserv chat on Twitter. We have improved our signage, uniforms and packaging. Our store and vehicles remain clean and our technology us updated regulary.
We also continue to educate ourselves on customer service through role planning and by reading customer service books like Lou Imbriano's Winning the Customer and Micah Solomon's high-tech, high-touch customer service.
4. Lack of Awareness that Retail Florists Send Orders Across the Nation and Around the World.
Butler says, that "consumers have not been reminded enough of this service,". Exotic Flowers in Boston has been sending flowers worldwide for decades. Our endpoints are strong and we work on our list every day so that our clients know they are in good hands whether they send from Boston to Belgium or Miami to Milan. We have even added new signs in 2012 with the FTD logo to remind clients that we send flowers worldwide and offer same day delivery.
Staying on top of these four major floral industry trends has kept Exotic Flowers as Boston's Premier Florist.
On Valentine's Day, Exotic Flowers in Boston was lucky to be featured on the Fox Morning News. Friends and colleagues often ask how did you get your flower shop on the Boston news ? At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we are always marketing our florist. Our staff is on facebook, twitter, instagram and we are seen in the community. So if a PR agent looks for a florist, we have thankfully remained at the top of mind awareness.
Check out the video below where reporter Lilly Hopkins was on the scene at Exotic Flowers in 6am and got a first hand account of the 'back of the house' operations at Boston's Premier Florist.
Lilly also tagged along on a delivery to Hyde Pediatrics where Beth Hardiman was the lucky wife to be thought of on Valentine's Day by her husband Stephen. When we mentioned the surprise delivery to Stephen, he was thrilled and loved the idea of showing his love on television.
Lilly was a great ambassador for Exotic Flowers. It was her idea to bring along flowers in case there were any children at the pediatrician's office that she could say Happy Valentine's Day to.