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Flower shops asking customers to buy local, not from wire services

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Local florists are asking you to think twice before ordering your sweetheart's bouquet from a national online service.

Some people might think of 1-800-Flowers, FTD Flowers, Teleflora or ProFlowers when it comes to flower delivery. But when you order from these companies, you might actually be hurting local florists, they say.

Locally owned shops depend on big holidays like Valentine's Day.

"I just got here, and I'm working my butt off already," says Samantha Roark, an employee at Creations from the Heart in Mishawaka.

Creations from the Heart is filling more than 100 deliveries over three days.

"We pushed out 40 yesterday, and today we got to be pushing out another 30 or 40," says Linda Bianco, the store's owner. "But tomorrow's the big day, we'll probably be doing about 50 to 75."

And none of those orders, Bianco adds, come from online wire services -- an intentional choice.

"I worked for all of them, and I quit all of them," Bianco says. "We no longer service Teleflora, FTD, OR 1-800-Flowers. And then they walk in the door, I show 'em right back out again."

Bianco says wire services take online orders from customers. Then, they either ship bouquets from the growers themselves, or they ask local flower shops to make and deliver them.

But not without taking a chunk of the profits. Some companies take more than 20 percent just for being the middle man.

WSBT 22 asked Bianco how much money she would actually make if someone ordered a $60 bouquet through a wire service and the order came to her store.

After subtracting the costs of flowers, vases, plant food, cards and delivery?

"Sixty dollars, if I remember right, might leave us with - when all is said and done - maybe 30 bucks," Bianco says.

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