By Karen Marroquin
Signal Staff Writer
The aroma of delicate flowers fills the room as customers step into Vivian’s Flower Market in Canyon Country. Here you can find anything from roses, to carnations and even peonies from countries such as Columbia, Ecuador and Holland.
Having opened in January 2020, Vivian De Leon, the owner of the market, says everything has been going smoothly despite the pandemic. But things took a turn last year when the United States experienced a big supply chain shortage.
“We were having our ports closed, and then there’s the backup, so everything was coming by plane. And because of that, the plane fee almost doubled up.”
According to the Port of Los Angeles website, the Port of Los Angeles is the busiest port in the western hemisphere, so the supply chain shortage caused everything from rice to cough medicine to be stripped from the aisles. Many were left with no choice but to scout store to store to find what they’re looking for or to pay excessive prices for products that were once a reasonable price. This was the case for De Leon when paying for the shipment of her products.
“The biggest jump that we’ve seen is at least in the last four to six months with about a 15% increase,” said De Leon. She also said that a vase that cost her $5 last year cost nearly double this year.
This has made it very difficult for local businesses to charge the same prices as they did last year, especially during a time like Valentine’s Day when the demand for flowers is very high.
But De Leon says she is determined to bring her customers great prices despite the adversities her business has had to face.
“My husband and I, we select our product. We don’t have a middleman selecting it for us. So we’re able to pick the freshest because we know the schedules of when the product is coming in, so we don’t have a big waste percentage.”
She says that eliminating any financial losses, as small as they may be, allows her to provide reasonable prices to her customers.
“We sell each rose for $4. We raise the prices for holidays like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. They may go up to maybe $5 a piece, no more than $6. In a regular flower shop they go up to $10.”
At the end of the day, offering these prices goes beyond just being a competitor in the flower industry: It’s about her community. “We already live in a state where everything is so overpriced, that flowers shouldn’t be one of them.”