Rugby town centre has a core group of businesses that have been successfully trading for decades, so Rugby First spoke to Jean’s Flowers who are bucking the trend of empty outlets on the high street.
Jean’s Flowers based in Castle Street was originally started by Jean Flear before being taken on by her sister Celia Tonks. It was in 2011 that current owner Angela McDonnell took over the business and has since continued to take Jeans Flowers from strength to strength, making it one of Rugby’s most recognisable independent businesses.
Alongside Angela, her team today consists of:
- Rebecca, a Level 3 qualified florist and formerly of Soho Farmhouse;
- Maria, also a Level 3 qualified florist, a Fleurex medal winner and World Skills UK medal winner who is continuing into her Level 4 qualifications next year, as well as more top level floristry competitions;
- Kate, formerly in senior management who now oversees Jeans Flowers social media presence, stock control and logistics, as well as being able to turn her hand to all aspects of the shop at their busiest times, and
- Duncan, who manage the deliveries for the business on busy days.
In addition to the loyal, hard-working and dedicated team, Jan Salter was also an integral part of the Jean’s Flowers ‘family’ and employed by all three owners until her recent retirement.
As Angela explained, it is that close bond and family feel that now sees Jean’s Flowers continue to serve a very loyal customer base, with the business now providing the second generation of its original customers with flowers and floral tributes for all occasions. A quick look around their shop in Castle Street is testament to that, and it is hard to miss the fabulous eye-catching displays which are regularly found outside their front door.
With almost three decades under their belt – or in Angela’s case nine years at the helm – Jean’s Flowers has seen the landscape of Rugby town centre change quite considerably. Those changes have inevitably brought both opportunities and challenges, but as Angela and Rebecca pointed out, being versatile and able to adapt to the needs of the business and their customers and clients continues to stand them in good stead.
Having gone from simply supplying flowers to customers walking through the door back in the early days, customers can now essentially request their requirements any time of day by placing an order online. There is also the option of using their click and collect’ service, with only a minimum of two hours’ notice required to then collect from the shop. Same day flower delivery is also available for orders placed before 11am (10am on Saturday).
In addition to placing an order by telephone, flowers and floral tributes can also be requested via email. And of course there is nothing better than visiting the shop and speaking to the team face-to-face, which of course provides chance to also see the blooms in all their radiant glory.
Many of their customers see Jean’s Flowers as the ‘Go To’ people in the town centre when it comes to anything flowers and floristry-related. As well as that loyalty, both Angela and Rebecca commented that the town centre has a true community feel to it, and one that has so much going for it which many other towns would love to have. They highlighted the town’s independent quarter and the retailers in Regent Street, Albert Street, Bank Street, Henry Street, plus the Churchside Arcade as giving the town centre its real identity. Their hope is that this will continue to thrive and develop further in times to come.
It is with that whole community feel that Angela and their team also take particular enjoyment from their involvement with the various events held in Rugby town centre. They pin-pointed the likes of the Rugby BikeFest, Food and Drink Festival and (in particular) the Christmas Lights Switch On really show that sense of spirit when Rugbeians and visitors alike converge to fill the town’s streets.
In fact, after a hugely enjoyable and successful involvement in 2018, Jean’s Flowers will again be participating in Rugby’s Christmas Lights Switch-On next month. And they would love to see more events such as Music Festival and the return of the Carnival, and – perhaps with their floristry creative minds to the fore – an event or two and more made of the beautiful surrounds of Caldecott Park.
In Angela’s words, the secret to the continued success of Jean’s Flowers is “primarily good value, supplying and delivering the freshest flowers whatever the occasion, loving what we do, and being proud to be part of the Rugby town community”.
And it is certainly a formula which continues to work as next year they celebrate 30 years in business.