End of Year Wrap Up 2020 and Look Ahead
Dear Flower Friends,
The new year is upon us and most of us have survived the COVID slow-downs of 2020. Whew, let’s get this year behind us fast PLEASE.
I want to thank everyone for working with us through this challenging time, the industry is still in a state of fluctuation where knowing how it has always worked seems a thing of the past. Thanksgiving was uncharacteristically busy, Christmas is great so far, products are hard to get and prices of some things are high, some not. Going into Valentines we are pre booking only what is pre booked and the rest we will buy on the market and order as customers order.
So far for Valentine's it looks like the weather is going to cause delays in Colombia and there will be a very heavy demand from supermarkets which will make rose products scarce and prices high. This is going to be a year where we book what we want and get what we can get. Be prepared. Whether you’re buying from us or another wholesaler or Miami, you can count on this year being one to remember.
That being said, I think 2021 will be a boom year for us all. The pandemic has changed the way we socialize and ordering online or sending gifts to loved ones has grown. I think this will only increase as we move through next year, so it will be good for florists. Events are going to boom when this vaccine takes hold and we get through the regular flu season. In Orlando, we are hearing conventions will not resume until 3rd quarter but when they do it will be non-stop. Companies are ready to get back in the faces of their customers.
We are very optimistic about our industry for 2021. We have expanded to Orlando and we are investing in new trucks, technologies, customer and employee appreciation programs. Our supply base from farms all over the world is growing, we are listening to you on flowers you want to see better quality and flowers you want better prices. If you haven’t seen our new Manatee Premium Lily collection please take a look and for those looking for value priced freedom roses for everyday and the holidays please see our Manatee Market Collection roses from Colombia.
We have been working hard each year to target products we can improve on farm direct and I have been visiting the farms and forging relationships. When we say we buy direct, that doesn’t mean someone's cooler in Miami. We buy directly from farms that I personally spend time at so we can fix problems as they arise. Quality problems happen, being able to speak directly to the growers, spend time walking their greenhouses and knowing the packing managers, that's where problems are solved. Manatee Fresh is an importer. We ship nationwide to wholesalers across the US and in Florida we are a wholesaler with direct connections. We hope you’re going to see continued improvements to our products and service as we strive to be a different kind of wholesaler here on the gulf coast and Central Florida.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has kept me from visiting farms for much of the summer I've made it out to a few and will be back down south in February continuing the efforts. This year we've hired a full time buyer working out of his home in Bogota, Colombia. German Gutierrez has been a friend for nearly 25 years and in an industry professional previously the director of procurement for companies such as Dole fresh foods and Hallmark greeting cards floral division. With German at the helm we've been able to advance our supply expansions despite the challenges of COVID-19. I'm excited about having German on the team.
2021 we have several initiatives designed to drive consumer traffic to retailers that carry the Manatee Fresh brand. We will be dedicating marketing dollars and efforts to helping our customers sell more flowers. I look forward to updating you as these efforts begin.
Thank you again for sticking with us in 2020 and I look forward to 2021 for us all.
- Robert Mclaughlin