Local florists find ways to adapt, overcome as pandemic stretches busiest season

Local florists find ways to adapt, overcome as pandemic stretches busiest season

Inside the walls of Flowers By Bert & Peg, Pam Shea has spent 37 years searching through a sea of vibrant colors to find the exact shade that matches her customers’ needs best. Sometimes her flowers are meant to bring joy, be it for the celebration of

a newborn baby or the excitement of a wedding day. Other times, they bring comfort in a time of loss and serve as a small message of hope as a family grieves the death of a loved one.

No matter the occasion, Shea stands ready in her North Kingstown shop with clippers in hand and a smile on her face, ready to greet the customers she says have become like a second family for her ever since her mother Peg opened the business in 1979.


And right now, she really misses that second family.

For the past two months, Shea and florists like her have had to transform their way of thinking as, much like every part of the hospitality industry in Southern Rhode Island, the coronavirus pandemic has closed all floral shops to in-person sales.

It might not seem like a major barrier to customer service in 2020 but with most of Shea’s clients coming through her doors as unplanned walk-ins — and with big floral events all canceled for the foreseeable future — it’s a disruption that will likely have a wide and long-lasting impact on the floral business, particularly in tourist-heavy South County.

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