Journal

March 16, 2021

The Blooming Best

The Blooming Best

Can you feel it? Can you feel the shift in the season? Can you smell spring in the air?

It's finally happening, after a long winter of lockdowns, disrupted traditions and a polar vortex, Spring is here. It has felt like a long awaited promise that crept up on us until, all of a sudden, the snow receded and everything begun to emerge from hibernation.

For generations, around the world, Spring has marked a reawakening of the earth. In ancient times, the Sarans & Celts would mark this change in seasons with ceremonies and celebrations. The druids would bury eggs in their fields to invite abundance to the lands. Bitter roots tea would be consumed to invigorate the body and cleanse the blood after a long, harsh winter. North American Indigenous peoples would begin to migrate back to the lands where hunting and harvesting were plentiful. 

Here, in Manitoba, one of the first signs of Spring, for us, is the arrival of Pussy Willows in our shop. These fuzzy little buds are quite popular and are a beautiful addition to our spring bouquets. Close on the heels of Pussy Willows, we start to see the arrival of some of our other Spring favourites - Tulips & Daffodils! These simple beauties are a popular pick for Passover and Easter tables across the province. And just in time for Mother's Day we'll see the arrival of Freesia, Anemone and the ever popular Peonies.

Whatever your bloom of choice is, Spring offers up an abundance of beauty to choose from! Be sure to follow our Instagram account so you are the first to know when our Spring favourites arrive!

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March 04, 2021

International Women's Day - Empower & Inspire

International Women's Day - Empower & Inspire

Monday, March 8 is International Women's Day. This day is set aside as a global day of celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. In some countries protests and parades fill the streets to mark this day while other countries hold no official observances. Either way we all know women who deserve to be celebrated.

International Women's Day began in Europe as the women's suffragette movement swept across the continent during the early 1900s. Still tied heavily to women's rights, this day also celebrates the contributions women have made to societies across the globe and through the ages.

In Canada, our suffragette movement began with Nellie McClung, Henrietta Edwards, Louise McKinney, Irene Parbly and, my personal favourite, Emily Murphy. These five women took the fight for women's right to vote all the way to the supreme court and won! Individually these women were intelligent, compassionate, gifted and determined. Together they were an unstoppable force!

Nellie McClung was a Manitoba girl and first made her mark in her home province as a writer, teacher and social activist before moving to Alberta and beginning her career as a member of the Alberta Legislature. She was a fierce advocate and loyal friend. She was a deep thinker and a champion of her peers who were raising their voices in support of social and political justice for all.

Now, more than a hundred years after her brilliant mock parliament performance, her voice still echoes through-out Canada and her legacy lives on through The Nellie McClung Foundation. The foundation continues to elevate women and celebrate their unique contributions to justice and equality. Through events, scholarships and educational opportunities Nellie's ideals of women's rights and a more just society continues.

This is why, for International Women's Day this year we are donating $10 from each of our International Women's Day bouquet to The Nellie McClung Foundation so they can continue to empower and inspire women across Canada and around the world.

This International Women's Day who are you celebrating? Share with us the women who inspire you, challenge and empower you.

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October 22, 2020

40 Years and Still Going Strong

40 Years and Still Going Strong

As a little girl, Irene Seaman spent hours walking through the fields of her family's greenhouses, learning the names and features of each flower. This is where she fell in love - with flowers and with working a family business.

When her parents had settled in Canada they did what came natural to them, they established greenhouses and began to build a community of friends and customers. It was there, under the guidance of her father, that Irene turned her artistic interest in flower design into a passion for continuing and growing the family business. 

"My dad taught me so much about customer service. He would remind me often that without customers you have no business. He was always so focused on making sure our customers walked away happy. That's how he measured success; a happy customer."

In 1980, after operating a retail flower shop across town, it was decided that a flower shop on Academy road would be the perfect place to begin the journey as Academy Florist. (We have since moved and our present location is on Corydon Ave)

"When we were looking to make a change in our business we decided to open our shop in this area because we loved the community. This area of the city has always been so friendly and full of great people!"

Over the past 40 years, Irene has experienced the expected ebb and flow that comes with operating a local business. There have been years of easy growth and success and years when it was more difficult. No matter what was happening in the world around her, Irene was steadfast in her chosen path.

"My father also taught me a lot about developing a strong work ethic. Giving up was never an option. When things get tough that's when you have to look deep inside and pull that resolution to move forward out of you. You just have to remember what it's all about and keep going."

  For Irene, Academy Florist was never just about the flowers. It's always been about connection and family.

  "I'm not just selling flowers. I am providing comfort and love and joy and connection. People say so much with flowers, things they have trouble saying with words. Flowers help people to heal and to gain strength. Flowers remind people that they are not alone. Flowers remind us to stop and feel."

Although Irene has spent her whole life in the flower business don't think for a minute that she is ready to slow down! She thoroughly enjoys the challenge of sourcing new products and staying ahead of current trends. She loves staying connected to her customers and helping them to make the most out of the occasions in their lives. 

"I'm also so proud of the team at Academy Florist. I am just one person. I could have never done all of this on my own. I have been blessed to always have really good people on my team. Together, we get to serve Winnipeg and Manitoba. We get to keep helping people. We get to keep doing what we love and loving the people we serve!"

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October 05, 2020

Mum's the Word

Mum's the Word

One sure signal that fall has arrived is the utter explosion of mums in stock! Our cooler is bursting with chrysanthemums of all different shapes, colours and sizes - and it is glorious!

I must admit that I once thought mums were boring but after a little reading and a lot of flower-gazing I now think mums are a treasure trove of colour and style. With more than 40 different species and more than a thousand different varieties of blooms, chrysanthemums are as unique and as interesting as snowflakes!

Here's a few fast facts about these fall beauties... 

Chrysanthemums have their roots in China, where they are still celebrated and revered. They are one of the 'Four Gentlemen of China' - orchids, plum blossom and bamboo are the other three. Each one represents a season with Chrysanthemums representing fall which makes sense as they begin to bloom in the late summer or early fall and are the official flower for the month of November.

Chrysanthemums can also be found in Chinese medicine and cuisine due to the belief of their healing powers for the mind and body. One legend states that drinking from the stem of a Chrysanthemum can bring long and healthy life which may have propelled the popularity of Chrysanthemum tea and wine. 

During the 17th and 18th centuries Chrysanthemums left their Asian homes and made their way around the globe. They became quick favourites in gardens around the western world because of their many varieties and colour combinations as well as for their use as a natural bug repellent in gardens, too.

For us here at Academy Florists, Chrysanthemums offer us endless options when creating beautiful and long-lasting bouquets and arrangements. From Spider mums' thin, dense petals to the firm, spikey blooms of the Quilled mums to the short, tight globes of the poms to the wide, feathery petals of the anemone - they are a never-ending source of inspiration for our skilled designers.

Our fall collection features some of my favourite mums. And what's more, we have partnered with a fabulous local coffee roaster to offer something really special this season. If you order one of our coffee themed bouquets or arrangements you will receive a 4oz pack of Red Lake Coffee beans. So click on over to our fall collection and order a Pumpkin Spice, Hot Apple Cider, Blonde Vanilla, Flat White, Caramel Macchiato, Gourmet or House Blend to receive your own wonderful fall treat!

 

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September 17, 2020

Need Flowers - Or Anything? Buy Local

Need Flowers - Or Anything? Buy Local

Now, more than ever, buying local matters. Small business owners and local shops have had to do some quick pivots during the last six months and not all have survived. Here at the shop we are forever grateful for our faithful friends and new customers who have found us on social media over the last few months.

The internet has ushered in an era of convenience and accessibility for shoppers, which is great. But in the midst of looking for the best deal and flocking to discount retailers we, as consumers, can forget about the lovely and unique local shops in our own back yard. Here are some tips to consider when looking to make a purchase.

Five Tips to Keeping it Local

     1. Do Your Research - Before you spend a dime, do a little research. Do a search on social media to find unique shops in your area. Often times, local businesses 'follow' each other and promote each other on Instagram so spend a little time following the 'follow-chain' to discover  a new, hidden gem in your town. Your local neighborhood Facebook group is a great place to find recommendations on shops and services in your area, too. 

     2. Be Flexible - When shopping local, remember that small businesses don't have the buying power of big box stores so while you may have something in particular in mind remain open to suggestions. Local shops often stock unique or handmade items from local artisans or independent designers. Having an open mind while shopping local can yield wonderful results!

    3. Add a Little Extra - In this time of economic uncertainty for small businesses, every customer is a difference maker and spending a little bit more can have a huge impact on the business come month end. If you are picking up a gift, add an art card. Ordering take out, add desert. Picking up flowers for a friend, take home a little plant for yourself, too. Each extra ten or fifteen dollars spent boosts the bottomline for your local retailers and that's just good news for everyone!

     4. Be Kind - These last months have been filled with uncertainty and stress for all of us. No one in our generation has ever experienced such widespread change and continued shifting of protocols and guidelines before. This has left us all a little (or a lot) more stressed than usual. That's why a little kindness goes a long way. It's been a huge learning curve for shop owners to take their businesses online while at the same time adapting their in-person shop experiences to maintain all recommended protocols. I promise you, we are all doing the best we can. We want to serve our customers to the same standard we did pre-COVID, it just may take us a little more time or more steps to fulfill your requests. Be kind. Be patient. We're in this together.


    5. Spread the News! Have you had a great experience at a local shop? Tell your friends and your neighbors. Leave a good review. Tag the shop on social media. Recommend the business on Facebook. And above all, call the manager to let them know how stellar their staff is. Honestly, people are quick to ask to speak to the manager when they are displeased but it rarely occurs to folks to call back to give a shout out for a job well done. It means the world to your front line retail workers to hear that their efforts are appreciated.

This too shall pass. Eventually this pandemic will end and we will settle in to the regular rhythms of life again. In the meantime, shop local, be kind, wear a mask, wash your hands and know that we sure do appreciate you.

 

 

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