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Hurricane Irma Triggers Challenge For Florists

Manel Zaera / Flickr

Manel Zaera / Flickr

In the wake of Hurricane Irma earlier this month, florists in Sacramento, and throughout the country, are dealing with a shortage of flowers.

That's because flowers from South America are shipped through ports in Miami, which was battered by Irma. Jim Relles of Relles Florist on J Street in midtown Sacramento says a shortage of this magnitude is a first.

"No, I've never experienced this before in my floral lifetime," says Relles.

Relles, who's father started the family floral business nearly 71 years ago, says roses, pompom chrysanthemums, carnations and filler flowers are harder to get. He says some flowers are being FedExed directly from South America.

"The biggest thing is the cost of getting the product to our door has gone up," says Relles. "We haven't raised the prices because we don't know from one week to the next how it's going to get here."

Relles says he gets about 50 percent of his product from South America.

"We may not have this dark pink rose," says Relles. "But we're going to have another shade that's going to be very similar and we'll just substitute. And we explain that to our customers. And most people, in a time of crisis, 99 percent of the consumers understand."

Relles has been filling out orders with California-grown product and says he's lucky to be in a state that produces an abundance of flowers. He says florists in other parts of the country are scrambling a little harder to fill orders.


Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the voice of Capital Public Radio News as anchor of Morning Edition and Insight. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music. Steve also produced stories for CapRadio.org.   Read Full Bio 

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