As recently as three weeks ago, Flowers for Dreams co-founder Steven Dyme wasn’t sure what Mother’s Day would even look like for the mission-minded floral business he started as a college project.
So when the state recently granted florists permission for contactless delivery and curbside pickup, Dyme and his crew jumped into overdrive to procure peonies, tulips, roses and other cheerful blooms.
“We ramped up as quickly and creatively as we could,” Dyme said.
The 8-year-old company has always chosen a different charity each month to receive 25% of its profits. For May, they selected Hope for the Day, a suicide prevention organization, knowing that coronavirus is taking a toll on mental health.
They fired up orders from their local suppliers: Kennicott Brothers Wholesale on Ashland Avenue, Kennicott Kuts farm in Arkansas, Peony Hill farm in Harrisburg, Illinois.
And they started contacting hospitals.
From the flowers they were able to procure, Dyme and his team set aside hundreds of blooms to deliver to hospital workers — health techs, nurses, janitors, doctors, you name it — who have to work on Mother’s Day.
“Honestly, they’re for any parent — mom or dad — who’s working on Mother’s Day,” Dyme told me. “We thought it might even be a nice gesture if it’s Dad who’s been working all day and he’s able to come home with flowers for Mother’s Day. We’re not picky.”
Here’s how it works: You go on the Flowers for Dreams site (flowersfordreams.com) and order a “healthcare petite” for $25. Flowers for Dreams assembles it. On Saturday, drivers deliver the bouquets to Chicago-area hospitals and drop them off, en masse, with a hospital point person. As hospital employees leave their shifts on Sunday (Mother’s Day), they’re handed bouquets.
“It’s a small token of thanks,” Dyme said. “Flowers are our superpower. They’re our tool. Why not use that superpower to say thanks to our health care workers?”
Flowers for Dreams, which also has locations in Detroit and Milwaukee, has taken a beating since March. The weddings they were scheduled to serve this spring, summer and fall have canceled by the hundreds. Daily deliveries are down. About a dozen employees have been furloughed.
On the Flowers for Dreams home page, you can purchase a gift card, which supports a cash assistance fund the company set up for rent and bill payments for its workers.
“We’re operating at about two-thirds strength,” Dyme said. “But we know we’re one of the fortunate ones. We’re ramping back up.”
In the Chicago warehouse, located in West Town, Dyme had four new break rooms built. Staff is divided into color-coded teams, each responsible for a different role — pruning, dispatch, customer service — so employees are only working around the same six or seven people all day. (And working at least 6 feet apart at all times.)
May has Dyme feeling hopeful. And I’m pulling for them. I’ve been a fan since I first interviewed Dyme two years ago, when Flowers for Dreams chose Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings as that May’s charity and hand-delivered dozens upon dozens of bouquets to the group’s Mother’s Day block party in Englewood.
It’s a company with its heart and dollars in the right place. And this weekend, they’ll share their superpower with some heroes who couldn’t be more deserving.
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