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Connells Maple Lee saluting military veterans with free red, white and blue bouquets on Nov. 11

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Connells Maple Lee will salute military veterans with free red, white and blue bouquets on Nov. 11.
Any veteran who stops by one of our three Columbus-area stores on Veterans Day will receive a bouquet.
“The men and women who have served in our military protected our freedoms every day, often in far-off places and always at great personal sacrifice,” said Greg Royer, president and CEO of Connells Maple Lee.
“This is our small way of recognizing and honoring their selfless service to our country.”
Click here for store locations and hours.

We made it, and now we need your help to give it a name

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We’ve developed a new European-style arrangement, but we need help naming it.
This is where you come in, by entering our name-the-arrangement contest. A lucky winner will receive one of the arrangements as his or her prize.
The arrangement, which will be offered year-round, comes in a clear glass cube. It features three types of greens; red flowers comprising one-dozen roses, alstroemeria and hypericum; and white flowers comprising hydrangea, veronica and stock.
To enter the contest, click here.
The deadline to enter is Oct. 20; limit one entry daily per email address.

Thanks to your generosity, our annual food drive collected 240 pounds for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank

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Our annual food drive collected 240 pounds of nonperishable items for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
From June 20-27, “Connells Maple Lee Stems Hunger” asked customers to drop off donations at any one of our three Columbus-area stores. In return, donors received a free carnation for each food item, up to a maximum of six carnations per family per visit.
Also participating in the food drive was Drayer Physical Therapy Institute, which has outpatient centers in Grove City and Hilliard.
Photo: Crystal Wells, our manager in Grove City, with a plate signifying that her store collected the most pounds of food.

Outdoor weddings, weather and having a Plan B

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On this particular September wedding day, the misty weather presented some logistical challenges for the bride and groom.
The ceremony that had been planned for a beautiful garden had to be moved indoors on short notice. A ballroom had to be transformed into a beautiful garden setting, complete with an arch and flower-festooned aisle.
As they say, into every life some rain must fall. And it was a good reminder that weather is one variable that no one controls, no matter how good of a wedding planner he or she is.
If you want an outdoor wedding, it’s best to have a Plan B just in case. We all know how variable the weather can be in Ohio, after all.
A number of years ago, the Farmers’ Almanac solicited submissions for its “Worst Wedding Weather Contest.” After Texas and Florida, Ohio tied Pennsylvania and Indiana for the most submissions.
Couples from those states “have experienced the soggiest, snowiest, windiest, most hurricane-hampered and hail-ridden wedding weather,” according to the Farmers’ Almanac.
MANY FACTORS TO CONSIDER
So what should you consider when it comes to creating that Plan B for your outdoor wedding? There are many factors, none more important than the safety and well-being of the wedding couple and their guests.
An article from about.com wedding expert Nina Callaway offers “10 tips for the perfect outdoor wedding.”
Of course, we’re pretty protective of the flowers, too.
We were on hand for that misty September wedding mentioned above. Being a perishable product, flowers require a tender touch. While do-it-yourself can be tempting when it comes to flowers (and other aspects of a wedding), it’s also comforting when a professional is on hand, in good weather and bad.
A florist will ensure that your flowers look their beautiful best. Unlike the weather, this is an aspect of your wedding that you can control.

Connells Maple Lee Kids Club celebrates start of new school year with free event Aug. 22

 
2015 Back to School
Before they go back to school, they can go back to the Connells Maple Lee Kids Club.
We’ll celebrate the start of a new school year with a free kids club event Aug. 22 in each of our stores.
Children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to create an arrangement adorned with a “back-to-school” stick-in. Participants also will receive a free balloon.
Time slots are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Registration is required by calling your nearest Connells Maple Lee store.

Connells Maple Lee Kids Club event June 20 to kick off annual ‘Stems Hunger’ food drive

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Our annual food drive – Connells Maple Lee Stems Hunger – will take place June 20-27 to benefit the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
Connells Maple Lee Kids Club will help out with a special event on June 20 for children ages 5 to 12.
They are asked to donate a non-perishable food item as the price of admission and to bring an empty food can to fill with flowers and take home.
Participants also will have an opportunity to enter the kids club’s birthday card design contest and to create a Father’s Day card.
Time slots are available at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Registration is required by calling the nearest Connells Maple Lee: 2408 E. Main St. (Route 40), 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 spring reading list

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Every November, Connells Maple Lee holds a weeklong children’s-book drive to benefit area public libraries. To encourage the reading habit, we include a reading list in each quarterly issue of our Connells Maple Lee Kids Club newsletter, Buds.
Many baby animals arrive in spring, which is the focus of our latest reading list:
“Little White Rabbit” by Kevin Henkes
This story about a bunny exploring a garden in the springtime is a perfect read-aloud.
“Smick!” by Doreen Cronin
Can a big dog be friends with a little chick? Find out in the newest book by the author of “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type.”
“Animal Babies” by Harry McNaught
Readers will learn the names of 20 different baby animals in this beautifully illustrated classic.
“Deep in the Swamp” by Donna M. Bateman
This counting book features animal families that live in the Okefenokee Swamp.
“I Hatched!” by Jill Esbaum
A baby killdeer chick pecks its way out of its shell and discovers a wondrous world.
“Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White
Older children will love reading about a baby pig who starts out as the runt of the litter but grows up to become friends with a savvy spider.
The Connells Maple Lee Kids Club is free to children ages 5 to 12. Membership benefits include a membership card, Web site activities, giveaways, contests, member-only events and the Buds newsletter. Click here to register.
 

To get the best value, buy from a local florist instead of a wire service

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There are lots of statistics out there about the economic benefits of buying local. When you buy from locally owned stores, the money stays in your community and puts your neighbors to work.
It’s true whether you spend your money at a local restaurant, hardware store or florist.
Speaking of flowers, buying directly from a local florist rather than through a national wire service such as FTD (which last year bought ProFlowers) or Teleflora can put money back in your pocket, too.

That’s because the wire services are middlemen, adding another layer of charges that consumers pay for without realizing any added value in return. The wire services are marketing companies that hand orders over to local florists, who make the arrangements and deliver them to your home or office.

CNN Money, in a story timed to Valentine’s Day 2013, noted how FTD had advertised a glass vase with roses and mini-carnations for $44.99. However, to send that arrangement to Reno, Nev., FTD’s service charge bumped to price to $65.
By comparison, that same arrangement ordered directly from a Reno florist: $53.
“If all orders came in this way, our business would not be sustainable,” the florist said.
Of course, this begs the question of why they stick with the wire services if florists have trouble making money on incoming orders.
Greg Royer, president and CEO of Connells Maple Lee, said that FTD and Teleflora are generally well regarded; they have been in business since 1910 and 1934, respectively.
“We also want to be able to send orders to other florists, so accepting orders via the wire services is only fair play,” he said.
However, he noted that from a consumer perspective, it’s a better deal to work with a local florist. You’ll be dealing with the same people who are going to arrange and deliver your flowers.
And you’ll avoid the added fees associated with the wire services.

Connells Maple Lee Kids club announces 2015 event schedule

Another new year of fun, free Connells Maple Lee Kids Club events is upon us.
The kids club is open to children ages 5 to 12, with the events held in each of our stores, usually at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
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The 2015 schedule

  • Jan. 17: There are many more weeks of winter to come, but we’re turning our attention to spring.
  • March 14: Our Easter event is just a hop, skip and jump away.
  • June 20: Help us kick off our annual food drive, “Connells Maple Lee Stems Hunger,” and enter our kids club birthday card design contest.
  • Aug. 22: Summer vacation is coming to an end, so we’re going to help ease you back to school.
  • Oct. 31: It’s Halloween, so be sure to wear your costume as we celebrate the holiday and kick off our annual “Bouquets for Books” children’s book drive to benefit area public libraries.

Kids club registration is free and may be completed by clicking here or by visiting any of our stores. Membership benefits include a membership card, website activities, an e-mail newsletter, giveaways, contests, and, of course, our events.

The making of our fall catalog

Our 40-page fall catalog arrived in tens of thousands of mailboxes in October. (If you didn’t receive one, you can pick up a copy at any of our stores.)
With each of our catalogs, we change approximately 20 percent of the product lineup. Ultimately, it’s our customers who determine which arrangements stay in the lineup over the long haul.
Connells Maple Lee Fall 2014 catalog
How an arrangement makes it into the menu is an exhaustive process. It’s a long way from auditioning for a role to walking the red carpet, in other words.
Weak-selling arrangements are removed, or they are redesigned to give them a more current look. Sometimes an arrangement is discontinued because its container is no longer available.
Once we know how many items are being removed, we begin developing the new items. Inspiration comes from visiting other florists; from walking through gift trade shows in Atlanta and Dallas; from visiting container suppliers to spot trends in colors and styles.
Some of the ideas come from previous holiday selections. If a Mother’s Day item sells out early, for instance, we know there is strong customer demand for it, and it could get into the lineup.
Flower growers are part of the process, too, as we constantly seek out new suppliers. They must be able to provide premium product on a consistent basis. Currently, we are testing flowers from Ethiopia.
In late May, a small team pulls together new containers, flowers and ideas in order to develop new arrangement concepts.
Value engineered
Once we have the concepts, a team of designers turns them into actual arrangements, collaborating on some items or coming up with their own interpretations on others.
We buy flowers in all varieties and colors to keep our lineup fresh and interesting for our customers and designers alike. We also want flowers that we know will be available for at least a year.
With the arrangements made, the original group reconvenes in June/July to make final selections.
The arrangements are “value engineered” to give the best value to our customers. Perhaps better-priced flowers or containers can be used without upsetting the integrity of the designs.
Finally, the approved arrangements are professionally photographed for inclusion in the catalog.
And now it’s in the hands of our customers, who will vote with their pocketbooks and ultimately determine which arrangements stay in our lineup.