Preparing for the holidays can be a busy time of year for small businesses. The hustle and bustle can be overwhelming. Kennedy’s Flowers and Gifts makes the season bright with exciting events and special promotions. Our mission is to spread joy, and this is especially true during the winter holidays.
Key to managing the holiday rush is early planning. Fall displays are on the floor beginning in August and our holiday merchandise gradually comes out in October. Kennedy’s store manager, Trish Holmes, begins by staging holiday displays in the basement, grouping merchandise into different themes. She takes these “themes” and enters them into a weekly planning calendar.

Beginning the first week of October, she moves two displays each week from the basement to the sales floor. By the end of October, our designers have created approximately 25 custom silk wreaths to complement Trish’s store displays. We are not open on Sundays, so we use the last Sunday in October as a final push to put finishing touches to our Winter Wonderland. Trish assembles a team of five sales associates to come in and bring the remaining pieces up from the basement as she works on the floor to make sure displays look spectacular for our first big event of the season, the Annual Holiday Open House.

To prepare for this special event we send our top 100 customers a petite arrangement the week of the open house. In 2016, we sent our “Scatter Joy” arrangement, a mercury votive cup with Christmas greens, a rose and a few white pompons; those customers were encouraged to refill the container weekly for free until January 31, 2017. We attach a postcard to each arrangement with open house details as a personal invitation to attend. At the open house, all of our customers have the opportunity to purchase these adorable refillable votives for $25 and then can come in for the free weekly refills. The open house is held the first weekend in November. We are open extended hours that weekend, kicking off our extended holiday season hours. We serve yummy food samples and refreshments during the day and offer wine in the evenings.

There are drawings for door prizes each day with prizes from Vera Bradley, Brighton, Thymes and many other great lines. During the open house customers can earn Kennedy’s Kash, redeemable on a future purchase. For every $50 spent in-store, they earn $25 in Kennedy’s Kash which is redeemable the first week of December. We incorporate fresh flowers into our holiday displays, encouraging customers to step into the cooler and experience the pure positivity of our arrangements. We also invite our customers into the design room to see a special mantel design competition. Customers love getting a behind the scenes look at how our designers work their floral magic. Each designer chooses a style, sometimes based off of the store themes, and creates a unique mantel piece.

They name their piece, and we attach a short bio about each designer. Customers can vote on their favorite piece, and the following Monday we announce the winning design on Facebook. We also draw the name of one customer from  those voted who will take home a floral arrangement that coordinates with their favorite mantel design. In 2016, we had over 650 customers vote for their favorite. During our open house, customers can sign up for our other holiday themed events: complimentary in-store home decor consultations, wreath making workshops and our men’s
shopping event.

The first Friday in December, a few of our designers, who have a special touch with home decorating, offer 30 minute in-store consultations. We encourage customers to sign up in advance and start to think about what area in their home they would like to focus on, such as their dining table, mantel or entryway. Our designers help customize their space based on pictures, color swatches and measurements provided by the customer. This is so much fun for our designers, as it takes them out of their usual routine and allows them to flex their creative muscles in a different way. Customers love the fresh and innovative recommendations our designers provide. We do offer consultations off site for $75 per hour if a customer would like us to take a more hands on approach to decorating their home or business.

Our wreath workshop was such a hit in 2016 that we sold out two dates. For $40 each participant was provided all materials: a grapevine wreath and a variety of winter greenery, berries and other seasonal accents. Designer Brenda Brown worked with each person to help them tailor the wreath to their own personal tastes. Workshops are a wonderful way to give customers an in-depth look at the care and attention designers take with each piece they create. Our customers have fun and take pride in the finished product. As an added benefit, we offered 10 percent off an instore purchase to everyone who took part in the workshop.

Last year, we tried something brand new for us hosting our first ever men’s shopping night. The event was from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.,
the Wednesday before Christmas. Leading up to the event, we handed out wish lists to customers and promoted it through our e-mail club.
The men who came with a wish list received a $5 coupon for shopping during the night. We had three different varieties of Founder’s beer, served snack items that we carry such as beer cheese, martini dip, pretzels and nuts and streamed Sports Center on our in-store TVs during the event. The men had a blast. We will definitely be offering this again as a way to help our customers celebrate the season!


This article was written by Amanda Rossell from Kennedy Floral