Dunmow florist The Rose Garden wows judges

Smiling Stephanie Harris holding a certificate at The Rose Garden florist, High Street, Great Dunmow, Essex

A delighted Stephanie Harris of The Rose Garden florist in Great Dunmow with her British Florist Association certificate - Credit: supplied

Dunmow florist The Rose Garden has been placed second in a national competition.

The Rose Garden was pipped to first place by just one point in the category of Retail Florist of the Year at the British Florist Association awards on Saturday (October 30).

Owner Stephanie Harris said she was thrilled, having been shortlisted down to 10 finalists.

And she joked that as the winner was in Cornwall, you'd have to travel a long way for a better florist!

The British Florist Association, the trade association that represents florists and the floral industry, had over 8,000 nominations in 11 categories.

Stephanie said a lot of different elements were needed for the entry, from explaining what challenges the businesses had faced with the pandemic through to talking about customer service and what training staff had been given.

"We opened our second shop earlier this year (at Great Bardfield). We are just about to come up to our sixth anniversary.

"It's an established business but still relatively new.

"The things they were impressed with was how we managed to adapt through lockdown. We still managed to work.

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"We were really proactive in looking after our staff.

"In lockdown where people were on furlough, we had a weekly welfare call on Zoom. We talked about what was happening with the business, ensured everyone was well and safe. We have completely retained our team."

Stephanie said customers are very loyal and their feedback was vital.

Now in their sixth year, the BFA Industry Awards provides an opportunity to show consumers why they should support small local businesses.

Categories include flower wholesalers and service providers to the prestigious retail and website categories.

Tracy Tomlinson. Association Manager of the British Florist Association, said: "These industry awards remind us of what fantastic BFA member florists we have in the UK.

"The last few months have seen flower prices increase, increased paperwork, last minute weddings and events and fuel shortages, so to have made the effort to complete our criteria, acquire votes and get to the final 10 Retail Florist shop is quite incredible."


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