Kevin McCarthy has roots in the flower business — four generations deep, to be exact. Kevin, President and Chief Operating Officer of Family Flowers, grew into the business because of his grandfather, who opened Bud McCarthy's Bouquet Shop in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1952.
Bud ran the shop with his father and was passionate about flower design. “My grandfather was very creative and loved bringing design and different emotions to the art of flowers,” Kevin shares.
When the time came for Bud to pass on his business to his son, Brian, the passion for beautiful flower designs remained — but a new approach to the business set the pace. “My grandfather was a 9-to-5 type guy,” Kevin explains. “If it was 5:01, Bud was not going to answer the phone. But my father was completely the opposite. My father would do everything, no matter what it took, to bend over backwards for the customer — even if it was midnight, or if had a broken arm (which he did at one point) — he would do whatever he could. Despite his father telling him, ‘Whatever you do, don’t get into the flower business,' he couldn’t help it — he loved it.”
Through a lot of hard work, Brian and his wife Erin eventually acquired other flower shops in a variety of markets and even bought Brian's father’s business, allowing Bud to retire early. Brian eventually acquired other flower shops in a variety of markets around the country, making Family Flowers what it is today — a curated collection of beloved local brands. These stores span a variety of locations across the US, from Martina's Flowers and Gifts in Augusta, Georgia (pictured in photos here), to Stems in Omaha, Nebraska. Top-sellers include a dozen red roses, the Bright and Cheerful bouquet, and the Designer’s Choice, but “we do everything,” Kevin says.
Even though the scale of the business has changed, Kevin is committed to keeping both his grandfather’s and his father’s passions alive through Family Flowers today: a commitment to high-quality, beautiful bouquets, and a deep care for the customer.
“We now have a little over twenty locations in nine states, and we really try to honor the history, reputation, and brand of each location with that customer-first attitude,” he explains. “It’s important to keep the values and the legacy that have created these brands alive within their local communities. These locations have generations of customers that we need to serve — you just can’t buy that kind of marketing and publicity.”
DoorDash enables us to get flowers to people even faster than on our own trucks in many cases.
Trying out something new
As President and Chief Operating Officer of Family Flowers, one of Kevin’s focuses is growing the business. At first, signing up for DoorDash for flower delivery was just something else new to try. “The industry has changed so much, especially in the past 20-25 years. We try to be as technologically forward as we can and try new things like, for example, accepting cryptocurrency as payment on some of our sites — not all of them work,” Kevin explains. “It’s a question of: How can we do these new things but still add value for the customer and improve the experience for them?”
No stranger to delivery or online flower orders (Family Flowers went online in the mid-2000s), Kevin already had logistics set up with local delivery drivers. But DoorDash offered something new: the opportunity to connect with a new set of customers. After a DoorDash rep reached out to Kevin and told him DoorDash was launching flower delivery, he decided to put his brands on the platform in early 2021 as a test. The results were unexpected.
A fruitful partnership
“I was pleasantly surprised with how well DoorDash worked out for us,” says Kevin. “With DoorDash, the fact that so many people are new customers who have never tried our services before, it's great to be out there and be able to showcase our brands to a huge audience.”
After some concern about how to set up a DoorDash account that would work for the way Family Flowers is structured (“I was worried, are we going to have to have a login and manage each location separately?”), Kevin was pleased with how quickly the DoorDash team was able to get him up and running. “All I did was send the rep a list of our stores, the locations, the service areas, and the information about each of those stores and they were able to create a single login for us”, he shares.
Today, Kevin lets each location dictate the unique bouquets, arrangements, and items they’d like to list for their store, but has an internal person who manages all of the changes and promotions — ensuring that flower designers can spend more time focusing on what they do best, and less time thinking about the technology.
Boosting delivery capabilities
Today, in addition to reaching a new set of customers online, one of Kevin’s favorite things about his partnership with DoorDash is the boost in delivery capabilities. “DoorDash is great because we can get a delivery out in under an hour,” he shares.
Though Family Flowers’ own delivery fleets can be just as fast, they’re often on a set route for the day or the hour. Having Dashers on call enables each flower shop to offer a nimble delivery solution — the order comes in, it gets prepared, a Dasher picks it up, and it’s on its way to the customer.
“It’s great that with DoorDash we don’t have to wait for our delivery van to get back for our next delivery. It allows us to move very quickly with the volume of Dashers that are out there and being able to get them to people even faster than on our own trucks in many cases,” Kevin shares.
Our experience with DoorDash has exceeded our expectations, and introduced us to a lot of happy new customers.
Growing a legacy
As Kevin plans ahead, he and his team like to review data from DoorDash’s Merchant Portal, which has an Insights Hub that helps him understand customer analytics: where his customers are coming from, whether they’re new or repeat customers, and how much they’re ordering from him.
After testing out DoorDash’s Sponsored Listing promotion, he’s happy to report some major impact. “We found the ROI to be far better in that case than traditional Google Ads or search engine marketing,” he shares.
We found the ROI of Sponsored Listings to be far better in that case than traditional Google Ads or search engine marketing.
Today, Kevin’s numbers reflect the success he’s had with DoorDash as a partner. Looking back at summer 2022, he shares, “The last few months alone accounted for about 3,500 DoorDash deliveries for our stores, which is really amazing. We started with literally zero deliveries when we launched in early 2021 and now DoorDash is responsible for thousands and thousands of deliveries annually, and growing very fast.”
Even as Kevin celebrates his growth in sales, his pride in his work still comes down to continuing the family legacy: taking the best care of customers. Kevin shares, “At the end of the day, despite the challenges these past couple years, it’s the customer stories that keep me going and keep me thrilled every single day. From hearing about a bride whose parents came to us for wedding flowers, or the customer who was so happy about an anniversary bouquet from their significant other that they brought in coffee the next day for the staff, it’s all incredible. I love hearing all of the personal stories and memories that our flowers are a part of.”
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