August 5, 2019
Zupan’s has three stores in the Portland area, all noted for their fresh meat and fish, fruits and vegetables, and bakery goods. Mike Zupan, the stores’ owner, believes that having the most wonderful array of the freshest flowers conveys this. Each store has its own floral department, and they all bring people in with the promise of all-around freshness. Our store has an adjoining flower shop packed with flowers, plants and gifts. We have a linking breezeway where hanging baskets, plants and flowers set the stage for people to sit with a cup of coffee. It’s a wonderful, welcoming space, and our customers can’t help but be tempted by everything they see.
I’ve been in the floral industry for 24 years, working everything from a huge retail store to a small shop providing floral work for high-end Portland clients. For a time, I was a teacher at Floral Design Institute. I came to Zupan’s a year and a half ago, and feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven! We have the buying power to find beautiful flowers often not seen in other floral shops and certainly not in traditional larger grocery stores. We buy at the Portland Flower Market, and we love the locally grown roses from Peterkort Roses. Most of our flowers come via a Canadian broker, who purchases flowers for us in Burnaby, B.C. They are trucked, weekly, in water, and that guarantees their freshness.
Our client base has grown over the seven years this store has been open. Impressed by our flower quality, type and palette, customers soon learned that we do weddings, events, parties and in-home flowers. I have clients who give me free rein to design with them in mind. It’s great to have that trust and freedom. We have our signature modern containers, many in glass with leaf wraps. We are outside-the-vase in our color combinations and mix of flowers. We offer the surprise of the unusual.
The flowers and design work are gratifying, but working with this dream-team of eight people makes coming to work easy. Our customers keep coming and challenging us with new and different projects, and, as corny as it sounds, we have built this great community family. As a floral designer, it is rewarding to be part of people’s lives.
From Mary Wadman:
Before joining the world of flowers, I was in banking, which has proved useful. I’m responsible for the fiscal success of my part of Zupan’s Markets. I have my own budget, and I’m in charge of growing customers and revenue. We have a staff person responsible for marketing and are developing a healthy e-mail customer list. We use this to promote our special events. We just completed a three-day “Buy One Hanging Basket, Get One Free” event. We worked with a local grower and brought in 1,400 baskets. This is our sixth year of basket craziness. We also have an indoor plant event coming up.
I was hired to help open this store and had a part in selecting everything to build it out. The first Zupan’s store had success with flowers in buckets, like you would find in small stores across Europe. We built on this model. Owner Mike Zupan wants to educate people about the importance of fresh flowers in our homes and lives, and we are doing this. People are splurging on themselves and not just buying flowers for special occasions. I have a great team, we have great customers and we are building a great floral community!
Erik Witcraft, AIFD Floral designer Zupan’s Market in Lake Grove 16380 Boones Ferry Rd. Lake Oswego, Ore. With additions from Mary Wadman Floral manager
From Erik Witcraft:
Fresh, Fresher, Freshest
This new column and accompanying video, explores how talented floral designers in super market flower departments are delivering beautiful flowers to their customers and communities, while contributing to the financial success of their stores.