TROY — While many local flower shops have been forced to temporarily shut down due to concerns over the potential spread of the coronavirus, Troy’s Trojan Florist will remain open, with slightly altered operations. The business qualifies as “critical” in relation to its service to funerals.
According to owner and manager Jules Conner, Baird Funeral Home is the primary funeral home served by Trojan Florist, with Fisher-Cheney Funeral Home being the second. The shop also works less exclusively with funeral homes in St. Paris and Fletcher.
Though the way funerals and associated services are held has temporarily changed — with more video options and smaller gatherings — flowers remain a staple in how people can express sympathy, even during a pandemic.
“Some funerals have been postponed, so if someone calls and wants to send something to that family who is now not having a service, then I will deliver to an extended area,” Conner said.
Aside from this, Conner said she is aiming to keep deliveries in the local area only, and at a reduced capacity.
“Right now, I’m only doing local Troy deliveries, as far as just regular flowers, because I don’t want to abuse this,” she said. “I’m graciously able to be open because of funeral work.”
Conner added that she has recently delivered flowers for reasons associated to the pandemic, as well.
“I have an arrangement going to Upper Valley that someone is sending to nurses to say thank you, and I have one going today to the health department with the same message,” she said. “I had a family call and it was their grandmother’s 80th birthday, but she’s home alone, so I feel like that is a service that while maybe it doesn’t seem essential, it seems needed. So, we’re trying to do that while complying with Gov. DeWine’s initiatives.”
Prior to the closing of non-essential businesses, Conner said she had already begun implementing precautions for her staff in order to limit the potential spread of the virus.
“I tried to be really proactive in all of this, so starting on the 9th of March, we closed our doors to the public,” she said.
Conner said sanitation practices have also increased within the shop. A full list of these can be found on the business’ Facebook page.
The following week, the business went from a staff of nine in-shop workers and two delivery drivers to just Conner and one driver. Conner now works in-shop alone and the driver picks up deliveries three times per week.
Conner noted the delivery process itself has also changed.
“It’s a non-contact delivery,” she said. “We take the flowers to the doorstep, wipe them down with a Clorox wipe, leave them on the doorstep, ring the doorbell, and walk away. That way, there is no contact with the customer.”
With Trojan Florist selling fewer flowers overall right now, Conner needed to be creative in order to utilize her supply efficiently.
“Because I have funerals, I have to order flowers and because I have flowers, I have to care for them and I have to find other ways to use them so that I’m not losing money,” she said.
Conner decided to plan a weekly virtual “wine and roses” event. To participate, customers can purchase a box filled with flowers and items to create a bouquet at home, with direction from Conner via Facebook Live.
The boxes are $40 each and distributed with sanitary precautions in mind. Customers call ahead to order and the box will await them in front of the shop after being properly sanitized.
“This is one way I’m trying to be innovative and do things so I can stay afloat,” Conner said. “It’s something fun, and a way to be engaged in and involved with the community.”
The first wine and roses event took place Wednesday evening, and those interested in participating can check the Trojan Florist Facebook page for an announcement of details for the next week’s event.
Another non-contact event Conner is hosting is an Easter “hunt” for kids. A sign in the front window of the shop describes the contest, which includes taking a picture with the display and posting it on social media. Those who do will be entered into a raffle to win an Easter basket filled with games, pre-filled Easter eggs, and other goodies. A winner will be picked next Thursday, April 9.