This month’s featured florist is Rakini Chinery, owner of Allan’s Flowers & More in Prescott, Ariz., and Prescott Valley, Ariz. Chinery bought Allan’s Flowers in 1999 and recently celebrated the shop’s 100th birthday. She and her staff of 12 are very active in the Prescott community and love interacting with customers through in-store parties – complete with food and cocktails.
Q) How did you to get involved in the floral industry, and how did you end up owning Allan’s Flowers?
A) I went to work in a flower shop in Boston where my sister was working as a designer. I was hired to sweep, clean, etc. I moved to Prescott, Ariz. in 1989 and applied at the shops in town. I was hired at Allan’s for deliveries and basic shop help and eventually graduated to a designer. When the owner was looking to sell her shop I jumped at the chance, and in 1999 I bought the shop.
Q) What is your favorite part of your job?
A) This may sound strange, but it’s my employees. They make every day easy and are the best team anyone could ask for. I also love helping our customers choose the right arrangement to send. Knowing that we are connecting people is such a great feeling – and we are connecting them with beautiful flowers.
Q) Allan’s Flowers recently celebrated its 100th birthday. What is the key to such long-term success, and what makes your shop unique?
A) We turned 100 last year. I am so proud to be part of such a long-standing business. The shop has always had owners who have been strong members of our community and connected to other businesses in town. The shop has weathered many economic crises and always emerged stronger. I believe our commitment to quality and providing our customers with exemplary service keeps us successful. We are unique because we embrace change – change in the industry, change in our community. We aren’t afraid to try new things here and that helps us stand out for sure.
Q) What do you feel your customers respond to the most?
A) Our customer’s respond to our signature mailings and our in-store parties. We throw a very good party! Our mailings with Beneva have really been helped streamline our marketing and they present us so professionally that our response has been excellent. I’ve seen that it’s not a percentage off or special sale price so much as the unique designs and the high- quality material that attracts our customers. Our parties are filled with food and cocktails and we make every customer feel especially welcomed when they arrive.
Q) Your shop is obviously a well-established part of the Prescott community, and you recently held an event at a local senior center. How important is community outreach, and what other things do you do in the community?
A) Involvement in the community is so important. We have been involved in a myriad of projects in our town. Our largest projects are with Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Yavapai Humane Society. I love giving back to the community. We love the Teleflora Make Someone Smile project too. We have a program for non-profit companies where we will match their budget for their galas and events. I know donations are a touchy subject in the floral community at times, we are always happy to give to most causes. We donate gift certificates or a pretty plant for most silent auction requests. I can’t tell you how many times someone comes in and says “I’m in here because you donated to such & such a cause.”
Q) What advice do you have for a shop that wants to attract new customers and sustain relationships with established customers?
A) We have great luck with social media for attracting new customers. We run a Freebie Friday giveaway on our shop’s Facebook page. People have to comment on the feed and we choose a winner at random. They have to come into our shop to pick up their flowers. Quite often it is someone who has never been in. We also have Happy Hour during the week after 4 pm where our cut flowers are 1/2 price. Our sign out front that advertises happy hour gets lots of people to just stop in to find out what it’s all about.
For our established customer’s we use our POS system to make each of them feel like a rock star. Once we enter their phone number we have their name, past orders and notes about any special requests they have when they order. We also offer special products to existing customers at holidays.
Q) What are you most proud of professionally?
A) I am proud to own a successful, growing flower shop that employs 12 people. We are a thriving shop with 2 locations and I have been through so many setbacks and challenges in my 25 plus years as a florist and have learned from my mistakes. Our mission statement is: inspiring people with the beauty we create and the happiness we deliver – that makes me proud every day.
We want to feature you!
Is your shop doing something that is unique or different? We would love to hear from you. Send us a brief email letting us know what you’re up to, and we may select your shop to be our next Featured Florist.