The field of floriculture, beautiful as it is, is like any other commercial field, with heavy competition on orchids wholesale or rose bouquets. Like any field of industry, fair competition is expected of all operators.
Which is why the Western Kentucky University closed down on May 6, thanks to accusations of unfair competition from local floral shops, who approached the University to air their concerns regarding the university’s flower shops.
Ellen Buchanon, manager and owner of the local Deemer’s Flowers, one of the nine local floral shop owners that approached the WKU’s board, complete with legal counsel from an attorney, with complaints regarding the WKU Floral Shop’s operations. According to her and the other local floral shop operators, the local shops have been upset about how the WKU’s flower shops operates, ever since the its opening. They say that it’s unfair competition for the locals, and that they want fair competition that they have with each other.
A statement from the WKU says that one of the key complaints from the other shops is that the WKU Floral Shop receives partial subsidies from a public university.
Information from the AREC Director in Kentucky’s Agriculture Department, Paul Woosley, and Dean of Ogden College, WKU, says that the only expenses of the shop that aren’t covered by its own revenue are:
- Course fees for the flowers and supplies used by students for their classes, which are taken home with no attached sales fee
- Initial purchase of the property the shop was on
- Taxes on the delivery vehicles
According to the WKU’s officials, there was discussions, attempting to find a solution to the issue that would be mutually agreeable, one that would allow for the continued operation of the shop under a public-private partnership, but the University ultimately decided to drop the matter, due to the budget issues the WKU is facing.
Before the shop closed, the building was packed with customers there for its going away sale, with large discounts on orchids wholesale, and staff completing the shops’ last owners. Local customers have expressed their disagreement with the verdict.