Florists face shortage after Irma

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - Hurricane Irma shut down one of the largest U.S. suppliers of flowers. Local florists are having to deal with shortage during wedding season.

Florists are prepping bouquets, but what happens if there are no flowers?

"We have already pre-placed these orders," Jennifer Ralph, owner of Wisteria Flowers and Gifts in Rochester, said. "It's a little unnerving because we worry as to if we are going to get those shipments in."

Ralph was not the only one who was beginning to stress. Stacy Ercan, owner of Stacy K Floral in Rochester, says circumstances were out of their control.

Ercan says the majority of flowers come from Ecuador and Columbia, but they are inspected in Florida.  She was in dire need of hydrangeas and she had to think fast. Her solution -- Facebook. 

"We brainstormed as a team for a substitution and right now hydrangeas looks amazing in upstate New York, there's not a lot of farms that cut it here though," Ercan said. "So I put a Facebook post out to my friends... said we would come cut it and pay for it."

Her plan worked -- the response was overwhelming.

Ercan and her team ended up with 400 hydrangea stems in house ready for her brides. As for Ralph, she's smiling again now that the airports have opened back up. 

"We have a few more things coming in tomorrow for Miami, but other than that we are good to go," Ralph said. 

The next big challenge for wholesalers is the shortage of fuel, which could have a costly impact on the floral industry.

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