Plaza Flowers Continues Donnolo’s Florist Tradition of Quality

Chester Springs Malver Exton West Chester Downingtown Flower Delivery

Chris Drummond, Plaza Flowers President, with Virginia Donnolo, founder of Donnolo’s Florist Gourmet & Winery

In 1987, Chris Drummond began building a list of top florists who could consistently design and deliver high quality fresh flowers for his customers who needed  service outside of Plaza Flowers local delivery area. At the time, the King of Prussia florist delivered as far west as Exton but no further. “We had daily demand for flower arrangements and gift baskets in Downingtown and Coatesville, so I needed to work with the best florist in that community.  I was thrilled to find Virginia and Doug of Donnolo’s Florist Gourmet & Winery. We’ve trusted them with thousands of orders since then and they always exceeded expectations.” Donnolo’s would reciprocate by sending Montgomery County orders to Plaza Flowers for fulfillment.

Fast-forward 29 years when the Donnolos were considering retirement. Virginia thought “I’ve loved working with all of our wonderful friends & loyal customers over these last 43 years. I need to make sure a successor takes very good care of them.” Plaza Flowers seemed an obvious choice.  On Wednesday, the transition was complete and those customers began hearing new friendly voices when they called Donnolo’s.  Plaza Flowers imported all 9,ooo customer accounts into their database and has committed to providing the high level of service that Donnolo’s customers have come to expect.  Drummond said, “Virginia and Doug were hands-on owners who treated clients like family seven days a week. Their work-ethic is admirable and we have some big shoes to fill, but we are up to the challenge. My team and I are committed to treating every delivery as if it were our own personal gift.”

Among many other awards, Donnolo’s Florist was recently named one of the Top 10 florists in the Delaware Valley by CBS 3.  Joining forces with Plaza Flowers, Pennsylvania’s Florist of the Year and a “Top 50” florist of FTD and Teleflora, strengthens the brand and gives customers access to extended hours, larger delivery fleet, and more farms to source the freshest flowers.

Virginia and Doug Donnolo outside Donnolo's Florist Gourmet and Winery

Virginia and Doug Donnolo outside Donnolo’s Florist Gourmet and Winery

Since a devasting fire leveled Donnolo’s retail store in 2015, they had focused on web and phone business which required unsurpassed delivery service.  “The walk-in sales were gone, so we had to improve on-line and step up our delivery service. Customers were already confident in our quality. They just couldn’t stop in to grab a gift, so we had deliver it for them . . . quickly,” explained Virginia.  Plaza Flowers knows that challenge well.  In 1993, Drummond launched, one of the first ecommerce floral sites in the world.  He learned that digital strategy is not just about order acquisition; it’s also about giving talented people the tools and resources to design beautifully and deliver quickly. “We continue to have a strong brick-and-mortar presence and love talking to customers face-to-face, but today’s time-crunched consumers would rather order via phone or web.  Their expectations are higher than ever.  You must deliver what you promise when you promised it.” Plaza Flowers has recently increased the frequency of farm-direct shipments, implemented new delivery software and added trucks to their fleet.

Plaza Flowers reports record sales volume for 2016 and expects a jump of 20% in 2017.  Construction is underway at their 10,000 square foot design studio in Jeffersonville, PA.  Vice President Heather Drummond is responsible for acquiring fresh flowers and other products from around the world. “Cold chain is critical to longevity of flowers, so we are adding much more refrigerated space to accommodate our increasing volume.  As we grow, we have to be careful to maintain quality. With the Donnolos retiring, we gain a serious responsibility to carry on their legacy.  We won’t disappoint.”

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