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E-Commerce Sets a Local Florist Apart

When Molly Meulenbroek bought Studley’s Flower Garden in 2008 with her husband Jeffrey and brother-in-law David, she inherited the 80-year reputation of the Rochester community staple and the pressure of a family business — Studley’s has been owned by a member of her family since 1971.

Immediately she encountered her first big challenge –  online mega-florists selling flowers directly to consumers. But Molly and her Studley’s family persevered by using low-cost digital tools and services to compete with national e-florists.

Studley’s launched a fully customizable website with Google ads that geo-targeted the Rochester area, so locals saw the floral options in their backyard. Facebook and Instagram promotions drew traffic, and Google Analytics let Molly and her team see what ads were most successful. Studley’s Google Business Profile includes reviews, store hours, and directions easily accessible at the top of the search results page, making it easier to draw customers. 

This early investment in e-commerce paid off when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in Spring 2020, the start of what was usually Molly’s biggest season. Molly shifted operations to contactless pickup and delivery, and with Studley’s existing social media presence and successful ad campaigns, she quickly engaged with customers and updated them on the transition. With that, last year was one of Studley’s “busiest Easters in years.” 

However, Molly worries about potential threats to her family business.

“Google and Facebook ads work so well and are affordable because they have ample data to power innovative ad targeting. If Google and Facebook are broken up, these services might not be as effective or affordable.” She adds, “Congress says they want to protect smaller businesses and aid ‘competition.’ But Congress needs to realize that large technology companies have been reliable partners in helping us grow and succeed and enable us to compete in a crowded marketplace.”

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