The Smell of Success
La Jolla flower shop has developed deep roots
Posted on May 28, 2018
First sprouting up as a simple roadside stand more than eight decades ago, Adelaide’s flower shop has grown into a La Jolla institution. In 1936, founder Adelaide Phillips took $6 in startup capital and built the foundation of a business that now serves a multi-generational clientele that looks to the shop for top quality floral designs for weddings, parties, corporate events, or just a regular pleasure. In an age of anonymous drop-shipping Internet sites and cookie cutter franchises, Adelaide’s La Jolla at its core is a brick-and-mortar company dedicated to its community.
“It’s up to us to continue this as a custom shop,” says Jerry Parent, who took over Adelaide’s with partner Larry Anhorn in 2016. “We’re not an FTD shop. Everything we do is our own design.” Parent and Anhorn previously ran FloraStyle in Banker’s Hill, and later in Hillcrest, before first joining the Adelaide’s team in 2011.
Parent works to stay relevant in today’s computer culture and has adapted to a younger generation. This includes an overhaul of the store’s website to make ordering arrangements easier and offer services to a broader audience.
According to Parent, it’s not just the technology that’s changing. Ideas are also evolving. “These changes have steered the ship from traditional designs to more contemporary styles,” says Parent. “Sometimes even we are learning, needing to find out, you know, what does a millennial want versus the client who’s been using us for 60 years?”
One way the duo gains customer input is through Adelaide’s’ floral design classes, which are attracting both new and longtime clients. Novices can learn the ins and outs of arrangements, and the popular classes provide great feedback. “We’ve done things like the succulent class, which remain very trendy, yet we try to customize each class for each participant. If someone wants a traditional lesson, we’ll work with him or her, and likewise if someone wants a more contemporary arrangement, we’ll help them with that,” he explains.
No matter the client, Parent is committed to working with each individual on a personal level. “We have everyone from billionaires coming in here to the guy who only has $10 but wants to impress someone,” he says. “We want everyone to feel welcome, like they’re a member of our family.” adelaides.com Ryan Thomas