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US: Relief efforts underway for hurricane-impacted florists

As widely reported, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were two of the most intense and destructive storms ever to strike the United States, with Texas receiving the brunt of Harvey’s rain-soaked fury and Florida experiencing Irma’s incredibly powerful winds and dangerous storm surge.

Millions of residents and many businesses throughout the Gulf Coast region and the southeastern U.S., as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, were affected by the storms. Among those hardest hit, were retail flower shops, many of which found themselves in dire need of assistance. Immediately following the storms, BloomNet, an international wire service and business solutions provider, teamed with several floral industry associations, taking the lead in generating much-needed support for retail florists in Texas and Florida.

Recognizing that relief efforts for hurricane-impacted florists would yield greater results if the entire floral industry participated, BloomNet collaborated with the American Institute of Floral Designers and its AIFD Foundation, as well as with the Texas State Florists’ Association and the Florida State Florists’ Association. Two separate relief funds were established urging florists nationwide to contribute to the funds, whether they were part of the BloomNet network or not.

“Through the Hurricane Harvey Florist Fund and the Hurricane Irma Florist Fund, BloomNet is committed to taking a proactive role in assisting retail florists during this very challenging time, doing our part to help florists rebuild their shops and their lives,” said Mark Nance, AAF, President of BloomNet. “We’re pleased that, in addition to proceeds from these funds going to florists, BloomNet will match donations made by BloomNet Florists, now through December 31, 2017.”

Complementing the financial relief efforts, BloomNet has implemented a hurricane assistance plan for flower shops in Texas and Florida, working closely with shop owners to help get their businesses up and running again. As part of this effort, BloomNet has been providing shops with items such as floral supplies, fresh flowers, vases, new marketing materials, and computer equipment.

“Throughout these catastrophic events, one thing became clearly evident - the floral industry is not just a business. It is a remarkable community, a close-knit family of loving and caring people who are resilient and come together to support each other for the greater good. It is a beautiful testament to our industry and to the amazing people who enable our floral industry to thrive,” said Lisa Carmichael, Vice President of Marketing & New Business Development, BloomNet.

Lynn Lary McLean, AAF AIFD PFCI TMF, Chief Executive Officer of The AIFD Foundation, stated: “The AIFD Foundation is primarily dedicated to the education of floral designers worldwide. Through the catastrophic component within the structure of the Foundation, we extend our commitment to the floral industry through two hurricane relief funds, calling upon the entire florist community nationwide to do what they can in helping to rebuild the floral industry in both Texas and Florida.”

Dianna Nordman, AAF, Executive Director of the Texas State Florists’ Association, stated: “We thank BloomNet, The AIFD Foundation and retail florists all over the United States for their energy, resources and generous financial support. TSFA is very grateful for all you are doing to help the florists of Texas in this time of need.”

Angela Tully, AIFD FSMD, President of the Florida State Florists’ Association, stated: “On behalf of our Association and the florists throughout Florida, we want to express our thanks to BloomNet, The AIFD Foundation, and to our fellow florists and industry companies in other states far and near. Your tremendous kindness and generosity are greatly appreciated during this difficult time in the Sunshine State.”

To donate to the Hurricane Harvey Florist Fund and the Hurricane Irma Florist Fund or to apply for a Hurricane Florist Fund Grant, go to: aifdfoundation.org/

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