Anyone that knows John Davis of John Davis Florist knows that he has one simple request: “Buy flowers.”
The phrase has become a bit of a tag line and sales pitch for Davis, who is celebrating 30 years of business at his Thomas Square shop.
“My friend and nephew put a Facebook page up for me and told me to say what I wanted to say, so I always said, ‘Buy flowers,’ because that’s what I wanted them to do,” Davis said.
During the last three decades in business, the shop’s creations have been on display across the United Kingdom, Portugal and Bali and in 2016 Davis worked on more than 150 events alone.
“I do everything. I’ll do your wedding one day, your baby, your funeral or if you’re sick and in the hospital,” he said. “You’re stuck with me once I do your wedding.”
Recently Davis sat down with the Savannah Morning News to reflect on the past three decades and the future of his business as they start their next chapter back in the storefront at 2430 Abercorn St.
How did you get into the florist business?
My dad died when I was 16 and I used to go to the florist down the street and get flowers for his grave. And I ended up making stuff and helping them. I didn’t know what I was doing; I didn’t know that I was good. So something good can come out of something bad.
What are your thoughts as you celebrate your 30th year in business?
Anybody can do anything; you just have to be good at it. Say what you mean and mean what you do, that’s the truth. If you’re going to do something then do it. All you have is your word. My friends help me, my family helps me; It’s like a family here.
What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment in the past 30 years?
I don’t have a biggest accomplishment. I just make everybody happy that gets flowers. If it’s a death in the family I try to make them smile with flowers, so my biggest accomplishment is that I make them all happy. It’s sort of an individual thing.
What has been your biggest challenge and how have you adapted?
We did internet when it first came out, so we’ve had a website for years and I didn’t even know how to work a computer, but now we’ve redone our website so you can buy flowers online. Most of my customers know me personally, so they would never want to go online. It takes away the personal part. And we don’t do wire service, we don’t give money to (other companies) we do this on our own. Most florists have to have a wire service to stay busy, but my family has been here for 200 years, so it’s crazy how word of mouth travels.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The people. There are people that go to work and don’t like their job and I don’t think I could do that. Some people have this feeling of, “ugh, I have to go back to work,” and I really don’t have that. God definitely stuck me in the right place.
What advice would you give to other small business owners?
All you have is your reputation. Try to respect everybody, but if they don’t respect you then you do not have to deal with them. It’s your business. You can pick your customers.
What do you see for the future of John Davis Florist?
I don’t think anything is going to change. The price of flowers is going to change depending on the economy, but you’re still going to have funerals, you’re going to have a new baby, you’re still going to have your wife’s birthday and there’s still going to be an anniversary. You might not spend as much money, but you’re still going to buy our flowers. There’s nothing that takes the place of fresh flowers from a florist.