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Money and Business

Despite flower shortage, Santa Barbara shops flourish on Mother’s Day

Riley's Flowers
Blake DeVine / NC3
A nationwide flower shortage left Riley's Flowers with limited options on Mother’s Day.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — A bloom in business arrived on Sunday, as plenty of people poured into Riley's Flowers in downtown Santa Barbara. 

Jesse Mann waited in a long line for quite some time.

“Buying flowers for my wife, she's a first time mom this year, so it’s very exciting,” he said. “Also buying flowers for my mother-in-law."

Emma Glancy was tasked with delivering flowers for her friend.

“My best friend in Santa Barbara moved to Houston,” she explained. “She called me this morning, asking me to pick up some flowers for her mom."

Longtime owner Maureen Riley says that Mother's Day brought about a fourfold increase in sales.

“COVID-19 has created a lot more demand for delivery,” she said.

Riley’s son, Christian, flew in from Chicago. 

“For the past thirty years, I’ve come back every Mother's Day and Valentine's Day,” he said. “To help my mother run her business for the busiest holidays of the year."

There's a new challenge this year, with the pandemic causing an international flower shortage.

“The travel restrictions and the labor shortage has really negatively impacted our ability to get as much and as high quality of flowers,” Christian said.

The shop has also lost a lot of local vendors.

“There aren't that many growers in Carpinteria anymore,” Maureen said. “Everyone converted to marijuana."

To keep cost down for its’ customers, Riley's Flowers has sent employees down to Los Angeles to fetch flowers.

“We've had 4 a.m. trips to Los Angeles to pick up flowers for the last couple of days,” Christian said. “Had to ensure that we had enough to fill people's orders for Mother's Day."

In the end, it's all worth making mothers feel loved and appreciated.

“Flowers are special because it's not a material item, it's something beautiful and natural,” Glancy concluded. “It's showing a moment of care."  

The shop is bracing for another big day tomorrow, as it's Mexican Mother's Day.

Riley's Flowers is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m.

California / Community / Coronavirus / Environment / Events / Health / Holidays / House & Home / Lifestyle / Outdoors / Santa Barbara - South County / Video
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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.

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