At first glance, the prospect of a flower shop that doesn't offer flower arrangements for walk-ins, and doesn't provide daily floral deliveries seems somewhat contrary to consumer expectations. But after a conversation with Linda Mathis, Flowers by Laurelwood co-owner with her husband Lon, it all makes sense.


Mathis said the shift away from traditional floral services was a decision that's been under consideration for about a year.


"The business has changed so much," Mathis said. "The floral industry used to require one store for every 5,000 people, now it's more like one store for every 15,000 people," she said.


The reason, Mathis pointed out, is that people buy "tons of flowers at grocery stores."


Mathis said when buying from flower markets for daily delivery arrangements it's challenging because you don't know what people will be buying, you have to take the quality - or lack thereof - that the market is offering, and you have to throw away what you don't sell.


Mathis quoted inspirational author William Arthur Ward to explain the rationale for the decision the couple made. "'The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.' We're adjusting our sails," Mathis said.


This transition, effective in late January, doesn't mean Flowers by Laurelwood doesn't do flowers. The shop will continue to provide floral arrangements for weddings, QuinceaƱera (the celebration of a girl's fifteenth birthday in Latin American cultures), other events and parties - a business segment in which the shop has enjoyed growth.


"For events," Mathis said, "I can order exactly what we want for the arrangements, and give the very best product to my customer."


"I've been in the business since I was 15," Mathis said. "I had some tears over this decision because I love flowers, but it (the floral business) isn't the same business today it was when I started, and I believe we are making a good business decision."


Flowers by Laurelwood will also continue its event rental services. The company offers tables, chairs, vases and candelabras among other rental items.


Store hours will remain Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Flowers by Laurelwood is in its eighth year of business, is located at 1390 Duane St. For more information call (503) 325-7030.