Sunday, February 14, 2010

War of the roses

From the NY Times:

They came to New York from places a half-world apart: Jorge Calle is from Ecuador and Seung Yoon Park, known as Justin, is from Korea. But they followed similar paths in this city of immigrants, marrying, working, saving money and eventually buying flower shops 15 blocks apart in Queens.

And business was good even as the economy soured. But about a year ago things started going downhill: supermarkets and delis all around them began, one after another, selling flowers from sidewalk stands for as little as a quarter of the prices that the two florists charged.

“There’s so much competition, they’re killing flower shops and they’re killing each other,” said Mr. Park, 52, who bought Woodside Florist on Roosevelt Avenue, under the No. 7 train’s stop at 61st Street, in 2003. The store has been around since 1923.

For months, all the two florists did was lament their plight, a situation repeated throughout the city. But with Mr. Park struggling to pay rent, Mr. Calle drawing from his savings to pay his workers and their once brisk Valentine’s Day sales dragging, they decided to fight back.

They hired a lawyer recommended by a wholesale flower merchant. They spoke out at community board meetings. They wrote to their councilman, Jimmy Van Bramer, and filed complaints with the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs, homing in on supermarket owners who they claimed were renting sidewalk space to third-party vendors, which is illegal.

It is a sort of little guy vs. big guy battle that they have waged in obscurity, using little more than pencil, paper and patience. Mr. Calle, who owns Flowers by Giorgie on Greenpoint Avenue near 46th Street, in Sunnyside, and Mr. Park said they never had much hope they could come out winners. But as it turns out, they might indeed enjoy a measure of victory in the end.

City officials are investigating their complaints. The city allows grocers to sell produce, flowers, candy, soft drinks, ice cream and cigarettes from sidewalk stands outside their stores, but they must first obtain what are known as stoop-line-stand licenses, and they are the only ones allowed to operate the stands. The stands must provide receipts that list the business’s name, address and license number, which Mr. Calle and Mr. Park say the stands near their flower shops do not do.

Shin Jong-Un, who said he was the owner of a sidewalk flower stand near Mr. Calle’s shop, said that he rents the space from the adjacent Key Food supermarket.

Asked if he knew that renting the sidewalk space was probably illegal, he replied, “My English not so good” and would not answer any more questions. The supermarket’s owner could not be reached for comment.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

"My English not so good." Then perhaps it's time you learned some English.

primadonna said...

Speaking of Valentine's Day..

Happy Love Day Crappy!!!

xoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Bravo to these 2 industrious shop owners - working out of the box to fight for their business survival. There tact should include looking at independent peddlers who sell flowers on busy corners near flower shops in Manhattan and elsewhere throughout the city. These illeagal status folks are manipulated by their own countrymen to sell flowers at cutrate prices that the public finds attractive. But the distributors knowingly sell the flowers to illegals who pay no sales taxes, peddler taxes, have no overhead and compete and steal the same revenue of stores that do everything by the books by standing a few feet from their locations especially in Manhattan.

Note that their flowers are sold at cut rate prices because the flowers are seconds and the fees a normal vendor would incur go to the vendor as their cut. These folks tend to be young 13-15 years old put into service by their parents who fan out to different locations. When are the Feds going to enforce the law and remove these folks off the street? Where is NYPD - they should be looking to move these vendors off the corners and intercept illegal aliens? Enforce the laws of the land Mayor Bloomberg!

Babs said...

Yet another example of how big business is KILLING the American dream - they are the biggest threat to capitalism.

georgetheatheist said...

Big business killing the American dream? Little business dreams of becoming big business, Dr. Freud.

And a Happy Valentine's day to not just Crappy but ET AL.

xoxoxoxo

Babs said...

George - concentrated corporate power violates many principles of capitalism. Under capitalism, if you can’t make the market respond, you sink. But under big business capitalism, you don’t go bankrupt, you go to Washington for a bailout.

Capitalism is supposed to be based on law and order. Corporations get away with corporate crime, fraud, and abuse.

Capitalism is premised on a level playing field - the most meritorious is supposed to win - but that doesn't always happen does it - small business owners, like in the case of these two florists - can no longer compete.

Walmart has closed many of its stores because in certain parts of the country - it competes only with itself.

Babs said...

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY ALL!!

Auntie Invasion said...

I know that florist. As soon as the Greek family sold to the Korean guy the quality and cleanliness of the store plummeted. It is grimy and grungy, not a place I would enter. I avoid Korean business's like the plague. If a Korean owns it, I don't buy there. why? they charge really high prices and are quite nasty, either they don't realize in a neighborhood you have to schmooze with the customers or they overdue it so you know it's phoney.

Now these immigrants are coming down on the illegals who use their children to sell the flowers from shopping carts?

Please work on the awful fruit stand from Flushing, part of a huge Chinese owned fruit/vegetable store , the taco truck and the idiots who sell crap from tables who all clutter up the sidewalk under the el. Do you think the taco truck had something to do with the diner across the street closing? yes. the street vendors are destroying Woodside.

along with the day laborers in Hart's Park near the R train.

georgetheatheist said...

I bought some nice potted roses from the florist for Valentine's gifts. The Korean lady in the store was very polite and helpful. I've live in the neighborhood for over 30 years and don't see any lessening of quality from that florist venue.

Anonymous said...

Walmart has closed many of its stores because in certain parts of the country - it competes only with itself.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Yes thats true and you can look at many sites to reference that the owners of Wall Mart are Republicans, attacks anybody who does over site on them, and has numerous child labour violations with connections to China. Also a GOP consultant had to cut ties with Wal Mart because of money laundering connections with Tom Delay.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Working_Families_for_Wal-Mart

Herald Group, LLC
Former White House spokesman Taylor Gross, who coordinated Republican media coverage during the 2000 presidential election ballot recount in Florida.

*Why Wall Mart customers vote republican
By, Tim Sneed

Anonymous said...

Can't the Real Estate agents contact the Chamber of Commerce and let them know what store will be opening and then someone from the Chamber can either discourage or incourage the shop keeper. We
have a need for many kinds of stores and can do with a lot less Banks, Drug Stores and Lotto Stands
Flowers belong in a dedicated florist not in food stores or corner gift shops

Anonymous said...

i do not like the "SMELL " of this post. and you could add that it has an "ODOR" to it.

especially the political war fare comment and its author.

primadonna said...

George said...
"I bought some nice potted roses from the florist for Valentine's gifts. The Korean lady in the store was very polite and helpful. I've live in the neighborhood for over 30 years and don't see any lessening of quality from that florist venue."

Oh yeah?

Who's the lucky - I mean unlucky - lady??

:)

Anonymous said...

you get much better quality from Jorge's store than from the Key sidewalk vendor... I'm always more than happy to pay $5 extra for a better product, in a store that adds to the neighborhood.

Babs said...

The Walgreen's in my nabe sold bunches of long-stemmed roses this year!

I felt bad for the local florists as I'm sure Valentine's Day helped pay their rent in the past.

The quality of the Walgreen's roses I couldn't tell you about since to me - "a rose is a rose is a rose . . . . " (Gertrude Stein)

Babs said...

And to Anonymous - thanks for sharing the info on Walmart . . . .

georgetheatheist said...

Ladies.

primadonna said...

Ladies?

I hope they're not bitches..

http://www.photoscreensavers.us/Dogs_full.JPG

primadonna said...

:-P

georgetheatheist said...

You're just jealous. I'm so sorry. Since no one remembered you on Valentine's Day, I'll be sure to send you a card next year.

And Babs, the 99cent store in the Tower Square Shopping Center was selling real single roses for - 99cents! Cheaper than the artificial roses being sold at the Michaels a few doors down.

georgetheatheist said...

:)

primadonna said...

george, there are no words..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7HvURBhMGE

georgetheatheist said...

Likewise..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXsKWi9FIjY&feature=related

primadonna said...

Sorry I don't get it. The German that is..