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Campus flower shop anticipates Valentine’s

KRISTEN DURBIN | Friday, February 12, 2010

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Irish Gardens is facing a huge spike in business, but Notre Dame’s student-run flower shop strives to maintain its personal approach to customers while dealing with a large increase in orders.

“Valentine’s Day is our busiest time of year, hands down,” Michelle Maloney, senior and general manager of Irish Gardens, said. “This year we’ve been trying to make it even easier for customers to order flowers.”

Irish Gardens, which has been operating since 1972 when women were first admitted to the University, is attempting to make ordering effortless for students, the shop has staffed a table in LaFortune where customers can place orders. The store’s hours have also been extended for the weekend to accommodate last-minute orders.

Despite the inevitable rush of late orders, Maloney said that Irish Gardens encouraged customers to place orders early by providing discounted delivery on orders placed prior to Feb. 10.

This year, the shop is offering eight different pre-made Valentine’s Day bouquets that incorporate a variety of flowers and vary in size to accommodate any budget. In addition, customers can create their own bouquets by choosing from the shop’s selection of flowers sold by the stem.

Maloney said one of the shop’s defining characteristics is the level of personal interaction customers have with the employees who make their orders.

“It helps us learn more about our customers and understand exactly what they’re looking for, which is really useful when a guy comes in completely unsure about what kind of flowers he should order,” Maloney said.

Maloney also said Irish Gardens receives a great deal of business from other sources, such as girls ordering flowers for friends, parents ordering from across the country for their children and even faculty and staff members placing orders at the shop. Even though cross-country customers may not have direct contact with employees, the shop strives to maintain a personal connection with every customer.

“The personal experience is really what sets Irish Gardens apart,” Maloney said. “We all work really hard throughout the week to make sure that customers have a positive experience with the shop.”