YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown Plant and Flower was the area’s last wholesale floral supplier. When it closed early last month, it forced a lot of florists to buy out of town. It now makes it harder to get flowers quickly, increases the price and drastically changes the way flower shops around Youngstown operate.
Tuesday afternoon, Mitchell Cohn, owner of Edward’s Flowers, and George Williams, owner of Goldie’s Flowers, were lamenting the closing of Youngstown Plant and Flower.
“This is definitely going to change the face of the flower business in Youngstown,” Cohn said.
“There’s a lot of stock I didn’t need to carry. They had it right there,” Williams said.
Youngstown Plant and Flower was on West Rayen Avenue, between St. Columba Cathedral and Youngstown State University. It was the last plant and flower wholesaler between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. After 74 years, it closed on Dec. 3. It was owned by Bob and Marie LaCivita.
“He taught me a lot of things when I was first coming in the business and he showed me the ropes,” Cohn said.
“They were maintaining and trying to get us stock all the way to the last day,” Williams said.
The package of flowers Cohn cut open on Tuesday was from Cranberry. Suppliers are also now being used in Cleveland, Akron and Canton. All orders must be placed the previous day, which means day-of requests may not be met. On Monday, Williams traveled to Rootstown.
“Because I go to Cleveland Plant and Flower and they say, ‘We’re not in the Youngstown area today, but we might be in Rootstown.’ So we’ll go to another florist in Rootstown and pick it up at their doorstep,” Williams said.
“It’s also a lot more delivery charges, so my product is going up. Plus, his prices were a lot lower than what these national companies are,” Cohn said.
Both men say the closing of Youngstown Plant and Flower has left a void that can be filled by someone young and ambitious looking to open a wholesale flower business.
“Yeah, it could be an option. It very well could be an option,” Williams said.
“It’d be a great opportunity for somebody. There’s still a lot of flower shops here,” Cohn said.
The Youngstown Plant and Flower building was bought by YSU for $235,000. The plan is to use it for YSU’s various competition teams, like the Steel Bridge, Concrete Canoe and Baja Car competitions.
We asked the LaCivitas for an interview but they declined.