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Help kick off our food drive at June 16 Connells Maple Lee Kids Club event

Our annual food drive — Connells Maple Lee Stems Hunger — returns June 16-30.

The Connells Maple Lee Kids Club will kick it off with an event June 16 in our three Columbus-area stores.

Children ages 5 to 12 are asked to bring a nonperishable food item as the price of admission.

They will have an opportunity to decorate their own pot and plant marigold seeds in it and to enter the kids club birthday card design contest (the winner receives a flower delivery on his or her birthday). Each participant also will receive a balloon.

Time slots are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Registration is required by calling your nearest Connells Maple Lee store: 3014 E. Broad St., Bexley, 614-237-8653; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City, 614-539-4000; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell, 740-548-4082.

Connells Maple Lee Kids Club offers free St. Patrick’s Day event March 17

If you can’t have a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, then the next-best thing just might be a free Royer’s Kids Club event on March 17 to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to make a St. Patrick’s Day arrangement and will receive a balloon.

Time slots are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Because space is limited, we encourage you to call or visit your nearest store right away to register:

Registration is required by calling your nearest Connells Maple Lee store: 3014 E. Broad St., Bexley, 614-237-8653; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City, 614-539-4000; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell, 740-548-4082.

To join the kids club, click here.

Valentine’s Day: from field to front door

Whether you’re a planner or procrastinator, online or in-store shopper, you can expect the same high-quality product and customer service from Connells Maple Lee.

We really shine at Valentine’s Day. It’s our busiest time, and we enjoy the challenge of rising to the occasion. If a customer buys flowers once per year, it’s probably for Feb. 14. And with matters of the heart, the pressure really ramps up to deliver in a special way, for lovers and florists alike.

We handle a similar volume of orders during the Christmas season, but that’s over a month or longer. By comparison, the Valentine’s Day “season” squeezes a similar volume into several days.

FROM SOUTH AMERICA, WITH LOVE

But behind the scenes, Valentine’s Day is months in the making, and it takes us thousands of miles from our stores.

You see, we don’t just place a phone call and wait for roses to come to us. We go directly to the flower farms in South America, where we can see firsthand the crop that’s being grown just for our customers. This way we can make sure everything is to our satisfaction. If there are problems, then we have more time to correct them.

Once the Valentine’s Day crop is harvested, it is flown to Miami, where it is inspected by U.S. customs officials. From there, we move the flowers to a refrigerated tractor-trailer for their journey to our Grove City distribution center.

The flowers are either picked up by drivers from our stores or headed to another part of the building and our central design department.

CENTRAL DESIGN: THE HEART OF THE OPERATION

The demand is so great at Valentine’s Day that our stores simply can’t accommodate all the work. They get a big assist from central design, where a team of workers packs roses in boxes or turns them and other flowers into beautiful arrangements.

Whether you give or receive Valentine’s Day roses, or both, we want to make sure you get the most out of them. In fact, with the right amount of care, you should be able to keep your roses looking just rosy for a week.

Click here for specific care instructions, which differ depending on whether your roses arrived in a vase or loose in a box. Either way, it’s best to keep them cool and, of course, sufficiently watered.

From the farm to your front door, we love making Valentine’s Day special for our customers.

Thanks for letting us show you how.

Connells Maple Lee Kids Club offering four more events in 2018

Thank you to everyone who joined us Jan. 20 for the first of five kids club events planned for 2018.

Be sure to mark your calendars as you won’t want to miss these upcoming events:

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day theme

June 16: Stems Hunger food drive/Fourth of July

Aug. 25: Fall

Nov. 10: Bouquets for Books/Holidays for Heroes

Kids club events are open to children ages 5 to 12. To get the most out of the kids club, it’s best to register for it here or by stopping by any of our stores.

You’ll receive a membership card and Buds, our quarterly email kids club newsletter, which will tell you about opportunities to win prizes and support our charitable events.

We look forward to seeing you soon at another fun, free kids club event!

We’re bringing ‘shabby chic’ to Columbus Weddings Show, Jan. 13-14

The HGTV series “Property Brothers” always starts with a couple oohing and aahing over a gorgeous home that, ultimately, they can’t afford.

Never fear, the twin-brother hosts help the couple find a fixer-upper that affordably mimics their dream home.

That dynamic is not unlike some prospective brides who come to us with photos of gorgeous photos they’ve found on Pinterest. Sometimes the flowers in those photos are more expensive than a wedding budget will allow.

Jill Elmore, Connells Maple Lee’s bridal consultant, is OK with that. She wants to know what brides envision for their dream wedding. If she ultimately must bring them back to reality, she said, she can do that.

Jill will bring that philosophy with her to the Columbus Weddings Show, Jan. 13-14 at the Ohio Expo Center, 717 E. 17th St. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

You’ll find Jill and her Connells Maple Lee colleagues in Booth 102.

Jill has plenty ideas of her own to share. She said “shabby chic” is the current trend.

“It’s not really country,” she said, “but it’s not really elegant, either.”

It includes lots of giftware items that brides can incorporate into their weddings, Jill explained, such as wooden lanterns, chalkboards, whitewashed screens.

Jill said the elements also might include a variety of greens with hand-tied flowers, or garland running down a table, across a doorway or above a backdrop of latticework. Connells Maple Lee’s booth also will feature giftware that could be given as gifts to the wedding couple.

Jill encourages brides to share their visions. She can work with that, she said, sounding just as confident as those HGTV hosts in her ability to deliver the look they want at a price they can afford.

“I can give you the wedding you want but within Dad’s budget,” she quipped.

You’re going to love the kids club’s free Valentine’s Day-themed event Jan. 20

The 2018 Connells Maple Lee Kids Club season kicks off Jan. 20 with a sweetheart of an offer: a free Valentine’s Day-themed event.

Children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to make a special arrangement in a heart teacup and will receive a balloon.

Time slots are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Registration is required by calling your nearest Connells Maple Lee store: 3014 E. Broad St., Bexley, 614-237-8653; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City, 614-539-4000; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell, 740-548-4082.

This is the first of five kids clubs events planned for 2018.

Bouquets for Books collects 166 children’s titles for Bexley and Delaware County libraries

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Thank you to everyone who contributed new children’s books to “Bouquets for Books.”

Connells Maple Lee’s annual book drive collected 166 titles for Bexley Public Library and Delaware County District Library.

Bouquets for Books ran Oct. 28-Nov. 11.

Anyone who donated a new children’s book was eligible to receive a free bouquet.

Connells Maple Lee collecting cards and coloring pages Nov. 11-Dec. 4 for ‘Holidays for Heroes’

Connells Maple Lee Holidays for Heroes

Connells Maple Lee Flowers will collect cards and coloring pages for military veterans in each of its stores Nov. 11-Dec. 4 as part of the American Red Cross’ “Holidays for Heroes” program.

Collected cards and coloring pages will be handed over to the Red Cross, whose volunteers will organize them for delivery. Destinations include military installations, VFWs, American Legions, VA hospitals and retirement homes in 45 counties in the Ohio Buckeye Region.

Cards may be dropped off at any one of Connells Maple Lee’s three area stores: 3014 E. Broad St., Bexley; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell.

Coloring pages are available at the stores or can be downloaded here:

Christmas Tree

Santa

Ornament

Reindeer

Dreidel

Preparing cards

The Red Cross offers these guidelines for preparing cards:

  • Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member” as cards addressed to specific individuals cannot be delivered through this program.
  • Include messages of support and thanks.
  • Sign your name to them.
  • Don’t include letters or other personal information (photos, addresses).
  • Refrain from choosing cards with glitter.

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

A Guy’s Guide to Flower Buying

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There’s a gender gap when it comes to buying flowers: Women buy 65 percent of fresh flowers, according to the Society of American Florists, while men buy 35 percent.

To the extent that men might be intimidated or uncomfortable buying flowers, we’d like to make the experience a more enjoyable one for them.

To do this, we tapped the expertise of our own Cheryl Brill, who shared these insights based her more than 20 years of experience in the flower business.

Roses are red – and lots of other colors

Too often, men think only of roses for their significant others, and then only in red. Cheryl encourages male customers to be more adventurous, whether it’s with other colors of roses, other flower varieties, or other looks such as a textured garden appearance.

Don’t stop at Valentine’s Day

Maybe the tendency to focus on red roses has a lot to do with Valentine’s Day which, let’s face it, is ruled by red roses. But the year has only just begun when Valentine’s Day rolls around, so why not mix it up for the 364 days that don’t fall on Feb. 14?

What’s more, 63 percent of flower purchases are for the buyer, compared with 37 percent as gifts. And 86 percent of purchases are for non-calendar occasions, 50 percent of which fall into the “no special occasion” category. The bottom line is that people like to receive flowers any day of the year.

Bouquets don’t have to break the bank

Flower prices tend to rise around Valentine’s Day, in concert with a spike in demand for what is the floral industry’s equivalent of football’s Super Bowl. If that’s the only time of year that you purchase flowers, you can get a warped sense of how much they cost on a day-to-day basis.

Cheryl described how a $7.99 rose bunch made a positive impression on one male customer, who realized that he could afford to be a more frequent flower buyer.

Get the right vase

If she likes to arrange flowers, Cheryl said, then get her a vase that lends itself to arranging and one that fits the décor of the room where it will be used. Does she tend to put flowers on the kitchen counter or on the coffee table?

You don’t have to DIY

In this age of do-it-yourself, there’s a tendency to think that we must go it alone with everything. Rest assured, your trained florist is eager to help. It starts with the right container; she noted that it doesn’t have to be a plain, clear vase. Either bring one in, or your florist can help you select one.

Think about what you want to say

Before you visit or call your florist, Cheryl advised, think about the words you want to send along with the flowers. She said florists are a bit like bartenders: they’ve seen and heard everything, so don’t be embarrassed. Speak from the heart because the sentiment is just as important as the flowers that it goes with.

Valentine’s Day is an oasis amid the darkness of winter, Cheryl said, but it’s nice to see male customers the rest of the year, too.

2017 Bouquets for Books library wish lists

Our annual children’s book drive, “Bouquets for Books,” returns Oct. 28-Nov. 11.

The book drive benefits Bexley Public Library and Delaware County District Library, which have compiled these wish lists:

Bexley Public Library
The greatest need is books for the first- through fourth-grade reading levels.

Delaware County District Library
Any books in these series:
Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Elephant & Piggie by Mo Willems
Fly Guy by Ted Arnold
Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton

Anything by these authors/illustrators:
Bill Martin Jr.
Bryan Collier
Byron Barton
David Shannon
Doreen Cronin
Dr. Seuss
Eric Carle
Jan Thomas
Jane Yolen
Jerry Pinkney
Jon Scieszka
Kadir Nelson
Mo Willems
Sandra Boynton