While the determinantal effects of COVID-19 are obvious in many industries, there are others we don’t often think of. Mike “The Flower Guy” shares the hardships of the floral industry in COVID times as well as the joy flowers bring.
Mike Mooney, referred to in local social media groups as “Mike the Flower Guy,” has an actual business name – Floral Union Farms. The Vista-based flower farm grows 85% of what they sell, with fields in Fallbrook, Encinitas, Ensenada, and Rapa. Mike’s venture into florals was not entirely unexpected. He shares, “My grandfather grew a wholesale flower operation in Cleveland after World War II. After I graduated from ASU in 1999, I joined him.”
He describes his favorite part of the business as, “The emotional side. All of the different life events and the emotions of the recipients.” When asked about a specific order he really enjoyed, Mike laughs, “The 60th birthday when someone sends black roses with cobs and dead flowers.” While that may sound out of the box to some, Mike is used to all kinds of requests: “‘dog-house flowers’ (when someone is in trouble with someone), making up (after a fight) gifts, gag gifts.”
Personally, Mike delivers flowers most often in Coronado and downtown. He delivers about 20 on a normal day, but extends to 50 for some holidays. Good naturedly, he adds, “buy flowers, not chocolates.” If he is out of flowers, he is the first to recommend another local florist. Mike name drops Coronado Flower Lady, Coronado Farmers’ Market, North Park Farmers’ Market, Coronado Vons, 50 Flowers.com, Allen’s Flowers, as his top recommendations. “If I am out, I want to give good advice and other options. I like to help the customer.”
Mike opens up about the effects the pandemic has brought. “We are struggling…,” he admits with sadness. “Flowers in general are just hanging on as the demand has changed. We want to find a way to help the customer in the bigger scheme of things. We have about 600 acres and are operating on all cylinders, it’s very frustrating right now.”
He explains, “without weddings; lack of parties, events, functions… our industry is suffering.” Society of America Florists has been a huge resource for farmers to navigate this difficult time. He describes how his floral business works now, “it’s a lot more non-contact delivery – we leave flowers at the door. It has caused a strain in our delivery methods, demand has changed – it’s down for events, and up for home delivery. People are enjoying flowers at home, and those people are saving us.” He continues, “the power of flowers can change someone’s mood, their day, it adds positivity. It doesn’t have to be a holiday.”
To share the joy of flowers, and brighten someone’s day, order some today: