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Exotic Flowers in Boston

What Can Buying a Baseball Card Teach a Florist About Customer Service ?

Posted by Rick Canale on Fri, Jul 19, 2013

Recently, I was on Cape Cod for July 4th with my family. While walking on Main Street, I happened upon an old fashioned baseball card shop. Unfortunately, baseball card shops are a dying breed. When I was a kid, I collected cards in the thousands and still have them. I forced myself to go into the shop, look around and even buy something.

I really wanted to show my support and even relive a bit of my childhood at the same time. Unfortunately, the windows were dirty (#fail), the lights dim (#fail) and a counter guy who seemed a bit more interested in his computer (#fail) than engaging the many clients entering the door to browse.

I was aware of some newly released items that unfortunately the shop did not have. That was okay. You cannot carry everything. But while I was there clients seemed interested and wanted to buy, but some things were out of reach, not priced and the salesman remained glued to his computer. (#fail)

willie horton resized 600

Finally in hopes of recapturing a little American spirit, I grabbed a 1968 Topps Willie Horton baseball card for $1. I know, this shop will not close early with this sale. But every sale counts and who knows a $1 dollar sale that day could turn into a $5000 Mickey Mantle card sale down the road.

Well as I  handed my purchase and my $1 bill to the salesman, still at his computer (#fail). He asked me to go to the register (#fail). Go where the customer goes. He rang my sale = $1.06 (I forgot tax but it is only 6 cents). He offered a bag (must cost at least 3-4 cents) I deferred. He then really should waived the six cents but did not. (#fail)

I won't be back. Not really angry about the six cents, just the indifference of the staff. After all, who in Boston buys a Willie Horton card ? What a great conversation starter.

Also heard that the store is up for sale and closing. Owning a small business is hard work. People really want to go stores, it is up to the retailer to astonish and delight its customers.


Tags: Baseball, Customer Relationships, July 4th, Customer Service

What Can Red Sox Larry Lucchino Teach a Florist in Boston ?

Posted by Rick Canale on Tue, Mar 26, 2013

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.
"Dear Rick,
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. "
                                                Larry Lucchino
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.

Tags: Baseball, Customer Relationships, Rick Canale, Red Sox, Customer Service

What Marilyn Monroe's Visit to a Flower Shop Can Teach Florists

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Mar 07, 2013


marilyn monroe roses resized 600 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. 
  • marilyn monroe flower shop resized 600

Tags: Marilyn Monroe, Customer Relationships, Movies, Florist in the Movies, Flowers in the Movies, Floral Training, Marketing

Customer Service for Florists is About Doing What is Right

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, May 16, 2012

boston graduation flowers resized 600 Having been a Boston florist for more than seventy five years, Exotic Flowers has seen our share of mistakes and mishaps. We have made some errors along the way and have witnessed some of the best ecuadorian roses wilt without explanation. As a top florist in Boston, we have a responsibility to our clients. If things go wrong, we make them right. When people buy flowers, they are often sending their emotions.

graduation flowers in boston resized 600 At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we send thousands of our orders around the world. We have a great list of florists who we send flowers to for our clients. These florists practice the same customer service skills as Exotic Flowers and send similar outstanding flowers arrangements as well. These florists like Exotic Flowers are in high demand and sell out fast. Sometimes like Valentine's Day and Mother's Day we use other flower shops to get your last minute orders out. Sometimes these shops mess up.

For example, we recently used a flower shop in Lithonia, Georgia. We were assured by the owner Victoria that our delivery was in good hands. Guess what ? Victoria messed up and lost the order and the delivery did not get made. Everyone makes mistakes, but owning up to them is key to making things right. Victoria was truly sorry, but had no clue how to make things right. Victoria should have offered a new arrangement at no charge. Alas she did not. At Exotic Flowers, we stepped up; refunded the customer, paid for the price of replacement and sent the sender a box of Godiva of chocolates. It was not in the name of saving the customer, but in the name of doing the right thing.

The sender even kindly sent this note us: "Thank you for your courtesy. My mother was really pleased to receive her flowers. They are beautiful. 

You are very much appreciated. And you have our continued support. 



Sometimes our staff may be rushed and under stress and may be referred to as The Surly Florists in Boston. Everything we do at Exotic Flowers is about doing what is right. We are a member of the community. 

Tags: Customer Relationships, Teleflora, Worldwide Flowers, Surly Florist, Customer Service

Exotic Flowers Suspends Customer Card Program

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Oct 20, 2010

The Alizarin CardExotic Flowers has suspended issuing new customer cards. We want to know your name not your customer #. About ten years ago, we relaunched our customer card program.

Retailers all over have touted the success of their customer card programs and how they increase business. In 2001, Exotic Flowers introduced the Alizarin (the color of the card) Card at a roll out of over 10,000 customer cards.

The Alizarin Card entitled holders to instant account access; Alizarin Card Priority (delivery services unavailable to non card holders); personalization and special promos.

Why did we scrap the cards ??

  • we want to know our customers by name, not by#
  • we want to know your likes & dislikes; we do not just want to have our hand in Your Pocket

Of course, the cards will always be welcome at Exotic Flowers in Roslindale or Faneuil Hall or at

We are a family owned and operated business. Relationships are more to us than transactions. We send and share your emotions; our relationship is a lot more than a customer #. Our relationship starts with us knowing your name.


Tags: Alizarin Card, Gift Card, Customer Relationships

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