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Shop Talk: Where have all the flowers gone?

Original post made on Jul 29, 2013

Palo Alto's oldest florist is shutting its doors. After 19 years in business, Stanford Floral Design at 433 Hamilton Ave. will close on Sept. 30.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, July 28, 2013, 9:20 AM

Comments (21)

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Posted by Carol K
a resident of University South
on Jul 29, 2013 at 10:49 am

One more incident of the crime of rapacious development, putting developers' greed ahead of residents' and visitors' interests. Do we really need another upscale restaurant, nail salon, or yet another office space more than a wonderful florist??? Nope. But that's what we will get.

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Posted by Grace
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 29, 2013 at 10:50 am

Downtown Palo Alto will soon be nothing more than an office park.
No more shops. Just massive high rise office buildings.

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Posted by Sherry Bijan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 29, 2013 at 10:57 am

One by one, the death of downtown retail. Palo Alto stands to learn from neighboring San Francisco that embraces small business with a vengence.

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Posted by Lisa Krieger
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 29, 2013 at 11:01 am

Very sad news.

Mr. Rogmans has been a lovely contribution to our community - both skilled and personable; an old-school craftsman.

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Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 29, 2013 at 11:07 am

It's too bad that the owners have to raise rents, just to be greedy. Their prices are not going up. Everyone is right...Downtown will be nothing but office space and high end restaraunts.
Guess downtown Mtn View will be the place to enjoy!

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Posted by TimH
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 29, 2013 at 11:25 am

Stanford Floral Design is a sad story, but really just another entry in Palo Alto's "free reign" for "property development". Just as the term "gaming" attempts to sanitize gambling, "developers" try to reface themselves as they follow the traditional path of "greedy landlords". How many times have PA Weekly readers shared their memories of stores, restaurants, theaters, etc. over the past years, nearly ALL a result of increased rents? The message is clear; the elite group of "developers" are telling all that they know better than you and that you will adapt to their "vision". This is the same vision that produced the hideous development at Alma Plaza?

As for flowers, this is indeed a changing market - it's not just internet flowers, but people can easily pick up simple arrangements from places like Safeway. A local florist would need to survive on legacy connections and a fair rent, along with a revised business plan...but of course, the greedy landlord is the seemingly unavoidable whammy here.

Palo Alto Online should call out this practice; I appreciate the kind reporting, but we are lacking the biting criticism that is needed - and not via your blogs, but with real journalism.

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Posted by Lmiao
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 29, 2013 at 11:38 am

When my daughter died, I went to Werner's shop upon the recommendation of our funeral director. Werner guided me and worked with me patiently in choosing arrangements for the memorial service. The various arrangements he made for us and our relatives and friends were the most beautiful and fresh I have ever seen. I thank him for his selections and preparation, craftsmanship,
professionalism and being a compassionate human being. Everything were delivered on time, so detailed, beautiful beyond words, a great comfort to our family at a tragic time to be surrounded by the immense respect and beauty even though we did not spent a fortune nor intended to, for we had originally planned for a small private service.

Thank you Werner. We have never forgotten, in the heart of Silicon Valley where time is precious, competition and survival so keenly felt all the time.

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Posted by sparty
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 29, 2013 at 11:42 am

" Do we really need another upscale restaurant, nail salon, or yet another office space more than a wonderful florist???"

It's pretty obvious which business last and which don't. If you don't like what other people support and spend money at, then you're just going to have to go through life disappointed

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2013 at 11:43 am

This may be due to high rents, but I tend to think it may have more to do with people not using a personal florist as much nowadays.

Most supermarkets have fairly good flowers/arrangements, sending flowers is done over the internet, hospitals have their own gift shops and many funerals request charitable donations rather than flowers.

I think most florists are likely being used for weddings, proms, etc. rather than customers just dropping in for some flowers to take home for a wife's birthday, etc.

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Posted by Ignatz
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm

As soon as a story appears of a business leaving town, the knee jerk reactions is always to attack the "greedy" landlord. What about the business itself--did it have a good business model? Was it selling a product that people wanted. What about the consumers? Where they actually shopping there or just complaining about the landlord???

"One by one, the death of downtown retail. Palo Alto stands to learn from neighboring San Francisco that embraces small business with a vengence."
Downtown retail may be dying, but it is not always the fault of landlords. Parking seems to be an issue that people cite for not shopping downtown. what about that aspect?
The stores that do exist downtown are mainly botique stores--not for everyday shopping. I am fine shopping in Mountain View--better choices, less snooty etc. Part of the problem rests with the Palo Alto mindset--I remember when merchants complained about the Ross being out of place in downtown Palo Alto.
San Francisco is not Palo Alto and SF's policies definitely go against free market principles

"Guess downtown Mtn View will be the place to enjoy!'
Downtown MV is mainly restaraunts. But overall MV has better shopping choices, Palo Alto has always stuck its nose up about everyday retail. Who actually can afford to shop at the Stanford shopping center. Anyway, people complain always about terrible traffic. Less retail in downtown PA will mean less traffic and parking issues in adjacent neighborhoods. So there is a positive to the "death" of downtown retail

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Posted by oh well
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 29, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Palo Alto city officials have no vision of what downtown Palo Alto should be. They have left the task to developers and property owners whose only vision is the green monetary certificate that simply states "In God We Trust" and have lost any community obligation. What a pity! Perhaps in the near future the community will elect a functional educated City Council that have a vision that involves community needs. Perhaps that same City Council will hire a City Manager who is educated and hires management staff with community values instead of our current City Manager who hires his friends and creates a shadow organization of management waste with little or no regard to community needs.

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Posted by long decline
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Another upscale restaurant would have been better than The Cheesecake
Factory which destroyed the University Ave streetscape. But imagine in that spot an authentic provencal restaurnat like La Note in Berkeley which is packed. Imagine a different set of developers here, a different City Council, a different ARB, a different mindset.
Remember the Barbie Doll Museum on Waverley,a surprising attraction
in Downtown Palo Alto, forced out, the doll collection sold to
Mattel,to create additional restaurant/bar space which is usually
unoccupied.Remember the Artifactory on Hamilton, a space for
local artists to create and sell their work. When they were forced
out the City Council did not attempt to provide another space for
this use. The precipitous decline of Palo Alto has been proceeding
for over ten years, and now with the strong office market the long-term trends- a weak and dysfunctional government with control by developers- are playing out.

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 29, 2013 at 6:41 pm

The city council should not be in the business of deciding what stores are in downtown palo alto. Let's be honest-- landlords and businesses are the to make a profit. When the flower shop owner says his rent is doubling, that is meaningless unless we know what his former rent was. Accusing the landlords of being greedy does not help. Do we accuse homeowners of being greedy when they take the best offer for their home instead of selling for a lower price???
And how many people that complain about the decline of downtown Actualy shop there? Of course another question is is their really any stores in downtown that people want to shop at. Can people do everyday shopping in downtown?

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Palo Alto's prosperity has driven up the rents. Basic Econ folks. Are you against capitalism?

Yes, PA was more charming when the real estate (including your house) wasn't so pricey.

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Posted by winners/losers
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2013 at 9:40 pm

When the City gives bonuses, exemptions,exceptions to developers
of office projects and pushes the parking problem into neighborhoods that is not "free market", it is "free ride".And that reduces the
market value of those houses to say nothing of the standard of living of the residents.It is a market skewed in both directions by
our City Council with "winners" and "losers". The losses for the
residents are really piling up. This will end in an avalanche.

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Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 29, 2013 at 9:59 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Since Palo Alto refuses to remember the past, it has no future.

I wouldn't be surprised that " El Palo Alto " is cut down to make redwood lumber for some developer's " Special Tribute Palo Alto Townhouse ".....

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Posted by PA Native
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 29, 2013 at 10:11 pm

My favorite florist is Michaela's on Waverley/University: Web Link Her floral arrangements are beautifully creative and her prices are reasonable for the great quality of flowers. Michaela worked for Mrs. Stapleton when it was called Stapleton's Florist, a STAPLE of Palo Alto natives. When Mrs. Stapleton passed away, Michaela and co-worker, Steve, bought the shop. I doubt Michaela's will ever go out of business because the Palo Alto natives know and love the florist.

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Posted by more to this
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2013 at 10:29 pm

@oh well
You say we need an "educated" City Council/Manager among other
qualities. It seems like a strange way to put it, but in the
circumstances we find ourselves in,I agree with you. The mistakes
being made here are so stark, so obvious, so extreme, the results
so bad, that it begs the question, could this all be the result of just favoritism and catering to special interests? There has to more to this- it's just too crazy. In trying to sort this out,and explain
it, Alma Plaza, 801 Alma are suggesting actually we are in the Twilight Zone as another explanation.

Like this comment
Posted by more to this
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2013 at 6:09 am

@oh well
Going back over this, when you say the Council/Manager are not
"educated" in terms of providing a long-term vision as to what the Downtown should be, and in terms of understanding and protecting
community values broadly speaking, it is well put and you are absolutely correct. It is probably not just convenience in terms
of carrying out their own agenda, but actually represents in great part a serious lack of understanding of what we have here, the unique qualities and values and what their job is in terms of
maintaining them. The singularly bad results project by project
flow from this lack of vision as a starting point and frame of

Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2013 at 9:40 am

Basic Economics is at work here --- stop looking for City Council plots. Silicon Valley is enjoying a boom.

Palo Alto property owners are sitting on valuable land -- as their costs and potential profts are both rising they want to maximize their investment. They want to make the profit that they feel they can get in this booming local real estate market. Would you rent or sel your house at a loss?

Are you suggesting a government controlled economy?

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Neighbor-- that is what people are suggesting-- government controlled economy. This is nder the guise of complaining about stores closing and as an extension, how wonderful things were x years ago. This is an example of free market in action. We already have had examples in PA of government trying to control commerce-- the protection afforded to JJ&F by preventing normal size grocery stores in town.
And again I ask. How many people that complain about these store closings actually shopped at those stores.

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