Friday, August 31, 2007

Florists: The good, the bad and the snobby

Our first appointment was with Ric Eckhoff at Palermo Florist, which has no website. My mom, Calvin and I went in to the florist shop, which is in an old house. Here is my initial review:

Ric Eckhoff at Palermo Florist (no website)
First impression: The shop was organized, orderly and very clean. Ric and his assistant were there, and we sat down to talk. While we knew that he had done work at the reception venue before, we did not know that he had also worked at the church, and knew exactly what to do with the alter arrangements. That made a big impression on all of us.

He liked our ideas for a monochromatic red color scheme, and instantly came up with several ideas for arrangements. Later he mentioned that his own son had had red as the color scheme at his wedding, and it worked really well. Ric also made suggestions for ways to rearrange the reception room in a way we had not thought of. When it came down to price, he was not pushy at all, and seemed very systematic in how he was thinking about how much everything would cost. This is what he said:

$300/piece for giant alter arrangements of four types of roses and carnations
$125/piece for tall centerpieces of red dogwood and carnations
$75/piece for shorter centerpieces of red dogwood and carnations
$200 for delivery
$10/table for eight votive candles
$25/table for polyester blend tablecloths

Still over budget, but Ric seemed willing to work with small and smaller budgets. Only drawback is that he did not show us any pictures of past work that he did.

Albert Wilhelmy and Debbie at Al Wilhelmy Florist

I spoke with Debbie on the phone, and we made an appointment that worked for her on the weekend we were in town. My mom, Calvin and I go, only to be told that Debbie is off that day.

First impression: The shop seems chaotic and cluttered and a bit dirty.

The owner, Albert, is a bit flustered; he speaks with us, and asks us to come back in half an hour, so he can gather things together. (This worked out fine, as we had been running late and had been unable to grab lunch before the meeting. So we got lunch). We return, and a laptop is setup. He talks with us, emphatically using his hands and never completing a sentence or a thought. When we show him pictures of what we like, he talks about other things that he can do, and does not seem to understand what we are looking for. Calvin starts making faces. Albert left us before we could even ask about prices.

Calvin has vowed that he will write his own post about our experience at Al Wilhelmy.

Stephen Tokar of Stephen M. Tokar
Calvin had played phone tag with Stephen's assistant for over a week, but we were able to schedule an appointment.

First impression: The shop seems organized and fairly clean. Very Design oriented with a capital D.

Stephen Tokar is sitting behind a desk, and has pulled up chairs for us. We talk for about an hour with different ideas. He is very creative, and into topiary type arrangements. And then we talk budget, and his entire tenor changed. Like the woman at Catan's Bridal, but only in the opposite way- he no longer seemed as interested to work with us. His budget breakdown was:

$200/piece for tall centerpieces; did not specify materials. Alter arrangements would be converted to tall centerpieces.
$80/piece for shorter centerpieces of about 80 carnations
$50/piece for shorter centerpieces of three candles
estimated $40/piece for linens, because he didn't want to "restrict" us
15% delivery charge

Did not seem interested/willing to work with "smaller" (less than 4k) budgets. Calvin and I did say, though, that if we had a big or unlimited budget for decor, Steven is the person we would want designing it.

We have one appointment left: Arne Klein at Blooms by Plantscaping, who we are meeting tomorrow morning.


mnc said...

He Meg, are you going to interview Fleurs de France?
Their arrangements really impressed me.

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