Teddys flower shop adjusts to COVID times for small businesses

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Griffin DeLadurantaye

Senior Brandon Chaaban, a Botany student, works on a corsage in class. In previous years before COVID, students would be doing more extensive work processing and arranging flowers for orders from Teddy’s.

Teddy’s Flower Shop has been experiencing numerous issues due to COVID but is still doing its best to keep it at work.
Since COVID caused Roosevelt to cease face-to-face learning last March, Teddy’s Flower Shop has faced multiple setbacks. Many services of the shop have been closed since then. The shop itself hasn’t been open to students at all this year.
“Normally we’d have wire services like Telefloral, but since COVID hit we’ve had to suspend those services,” Lindsey Sikorski, who runs Teddy’s, said. “We can’t really do those services since we don’t have students in the school helping process the arrangements. Hopefully, we’ll be able to once we are back fully face-to-face.”
Since the current status of events like Prom is uncertain as of now, the flower shop hasn’t had to prepare for them.
“We aren’t doing anything [in preparation for Prom] differently,” Sikorski said. “We aren’t paying for services we’d usually be paying for. We’re just standing still, waiting until we can open things back up.”
Getting flowers in the first place has also become an issue for the flower shop due to the initial flight restrictions from COVID.
“Most of our flowers come from other countries,” Sikorski said. “When COVID first hit, getting what flowers we needed or the quantities we needed was very difficult because flights from other wholesalers and other countries were getting delayed and canceled.”
In addition to all of the obstacles that have been created by COVID, the cooler for the flowers in Teddy’s has also broken down, making it difficult to maintain the flowers that Teddy’s does have.
“Refrigeration systems work better when they’re working consistently. Ours is old and had to be shut down during winter, so it just couldn’t come back from that,” Sikorski said. “COVID is also making it harder to fix it because our service providers are overloaded with calls and they’ve been fixing coolers in restaurants and other businesses.”
Gabby Parmelee is a senior that has helped Sikorski a lot over the last three years with processing, arranging, and delivering orders. This year, though, she has had to work differently around the restrictions of COVID.
“COVID has affected pretty much everything. Things like not being able to get orders and not being able to open the flower shop because of school hours,” Parmelee said. “There isn’t anything that isn’t different. We have had to change how we do things and obtain things, but I keep a strong work ethic so I’m still on top of everything.”
Not everything has been bad for Teddy’s, however; Sikorski has learned that working in small groups has proved to be beneficial.
“I do think having small groups come in has been helpful,” Sikorski said. “It’s hard to do more intricate things with a lot of students. Having smaller groups makes it easier to do one-on-one demonstrations, so we might talk about doing that more in the future.
Botany classes have continued to work with the flower shop, as usual, learning what they can with the limited operations of the shop.
“The flower shop is part of the botany program,” Botany teacher Jennifer Ferris said. “We’re still teaching the students the skills we always do, we just can’t put them into action.”
Even going back fully face-to-face soon, Teddy’s will take some time to fully recover and return to ordinary operations.
“I think it’ll leave a lasting effect for six months at least before things are back to normal. I’m not sure if other businesses will be able to do the same, though, after being shut down for so long. Hopefully, if we shop small businesses, we can help them survive, too.”
Teddy’s is showing the perseverance that small businesses have to have in order to make it through COVID. While Teddy’s has the support of the school, many other small businesses have not had that same type of support during the pandemic, so it is important to keep them going for all the hard work they do.