In Full Bloom

December 1998

Image:Valentine's Day

In Full Bloom

How does their garden grow? A jewelry store doubles as a florist

When it comes to one-stop gift shopping, B. Sanfield is one step ahead of Hallmark. The 13,000-square-foot store in Rockford, IL, is a full-service florist and jeweler, doing as much business in fresh roses as it does in diamond jewelry. It also offers Lenox china, crystal and brass, African crafts, handmade Mexican pottery and wine.

The store is successful because of its convenience and large selection. But it shrugs off a "superstore" image with upscale merchandise and by advertising in affluent magazines. A free-standing building on a busy street corner, the store has 125 parking spaces and hires off-duty police officers to direct traffic during major holidays. The selection runs the gamut from branded Ideal Cut and D-flawless diamonds, $80 Majestic brand roses and Dom Perignon to $99 diamond studs, $5 bottles of wine and $3 carnation bouquets. People can get in, buy what they need and get out faster than in a shopping mall, says co-owner Lee Hartsfield.

The store spends about $12,000 a week on advertising, mostly on radio and TV in Rockford, where advertising on the four TV networks is affordable compared with nearby Chicago. Jewelry and flowers are featured in separate spots, though people don't always connect them. "We're perplexed when people buy their wedding flowers from us but never think of us for the engagement rings," Hartsfield says.

B. Sanfield does as much business in the week before Valentine's Day as in any of the summer months. It runs ads and price promotions to increase traffic and adds its own mischievous gifts. Last year the store packaged promotional diamond necklaces with stuffed animals called "Red Hot Lovers." The year before that, the red-hot item was red lingerie folded like rosebuds on plastic stems.

– Stacey King

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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