Santa Monica Florist Barred From Farmers Market After 24 Years

gavel-justice-modernAccording to researchers at Rutgers University, the presents we choose to convey special messages say a lot about us. This fact can likely explain why people rely on online florists and shops to help them find the perfect gift for their loved ones: flowers are a vibrant, expressive gift that show how much you care. Whether you’re choosing flowers for a funeral or picking out affordable wedding flowers, florists can help you pick the perfect arrangement.

This likely explains why their industry is so successful: from 2009 to 2014, the American florist business reportedly grew by an estimated 0.6% every year, and currently generates around $7 billion in revenue annually. This success can also be measured in the roles florists find in their communities. However, a new law in California may affect how these professionals help customers decide on flower arrangement ideas: the legislation seems to have unintentionally prevented many florists from participating in their local farmers markets.

Edward Tomblin, owner of the Fleurs Du Jour florist shop in Santa Monica, has participated in his local Farmers Market for 24 years. However, thanks to California State Assembly Bill 1871, which went into effect on January 1, this tradition has ended. The law is designed to increase funding for farmers markets and block products that aren’t grown by the vendors through increased transparency. As a store that includes plenty of non-native plants in their flower arrangement ideas, ranging from lilacs to peonies, Fleurs Du Jour is unable to grow their own products. But even though their products are not being sold as edible items, which the law seems primarily concerned with, and most of their customers seem aware that the flowers are not grown by the shop, Tomblin has been blocked from participating in the market.

Since the law went into effect, Fleurs Du Jour says it has lost 90% of its Sunday business, although their shop is still open to any customers who may wander by. Customers and other entrepreneurs, meanwhile, are going to bat for the company, arguing that florists should be categorized with clothing and jewelry sellers, not agricultural vendors. Tomblin has reportedly reached out to several City Council members, but as the issue is a matter of state law, it may be out of their hands.