- May 5, 2014
Simply Roses has deep roots and it’s branching out. The floral shop, founded in 1990, was started by Steve and Trish Bruno and it’s now being run by daughter and son-in-law, Ashlee and Ryan Roberson, who have adjusted to modern times and competition from grocery stores and big box stores to keep the shop flourishing.
Ashlee Roberson grew up helping her parents in the story they started on Mason Avenue in Daytona Beach. While they began only selling roses, customers later began asking for arrangements and the family became adept at floral designs.
They now offer a full floral service, including weddings and funerals, but are keeping the name, Simply Roses.
“It’s a known name. It’s our brand,” Roberson said. “I don’t want to change it.”
“We set out to regroup and revamp the business my parents had laid such a beautiful foundation for."
The Mason Avenue store closed 10 years ago and the main store is now in Rivergate Plaza, Ormond Beach.
Roberson learned the business from her mother, especially noting her customer service, saying she knew customers by name and what flowers they liked.
Roberson eventually developed her own style and vision for the business.
“We set out to regroup and revamp the business my parents had laid such a beautiful foundation for,” she said.
Roberson said the climate of the floral industry is changing in a big way. Local florists are closing every day as grocery and big box stores regularly stock the blooms people would get from a florist.
“Everyone knows you can grab a bag of tomatoes, lettuce, bananas and a bundle of gladiolas any day of the week,” she said.
Also, online companies ship mass produced flowers fresh across the country.
The Robersons had to figure how to meet the challenge.
Their first move was to improve their presence on social media and restructure their website.
“Flowers are a very visual product, and we are amazed every day at the reactions our posts receive,” she said.
The next strategic move was to buy in more volume so they could get the freshest product available. Being just a single store, they could not buy directly from farms, but had to go through wholesalers.
First, they purchased Stetson Florist in Deltona. Next, they bought The Flower Cottage on Taylor Road in Port Orange. And last summer, they merged with two long-standing Ormond Beach shops, Marguerite’s Florist and A Floral Boutique. The shops have closed and business is conducted at the Rivergate Village shop.
Roberson called the former owners cornerstones of the local floral community, and she learned a lot working with over the years. Monica Yates-Blatz, of Marguerite’s, now works for them and the owners of A Floral Boutique retired.
Simply Roses is now able to purchase flowers directly from farms from all over the world.
“Our blooms are incredibly fresh and we are having so much fun getting those ‘my flowers lasted two weeks’ phone calls,” Roberson said.
Another advantage for their customers is that they are buying from someone who can give them personal service, rather than a national company.
“Our goal is to be thoughtful, interesting and different,” she said.
Their staff has grown from four to 22 over the past two years.
Roberson’s mother, Trish Bruno works along beside her in the business.
“She’s taken it to a new level,” Bruno said.