By Sara Miller
Kitsap News Group
Flowers play an impactful role during big moments of our lives. Bouquets send messages that words sometimes can’t. And Flowers To Go in Port Orchard wants to help send those messages.
The florist shop has been around since 1982. Now with eight locations, the family-owned business is somewhat of an anomaly.
“We’re fairly unique for a family-owned business,” owner Will Gross said. “We’re successful at paying attention to what people want and we do our best to deliver it and continue to grow and have success.”
Gross’s parents originally started the company before he bought them out six years ago.
“Before I bought it, I was running it,” he said. “They showed me the way. I was a little kid in the warehouse processing flowers, and I’ve been at it ever since.”
Although he laughs at the idea of calling his shop “Gross Flowers” (there used to be a florist in Port Angeles with the name), he wants to start transitioning the stores to the new moniker “William’s Flowers” this year.
“Some think it’s kind of narcissistic to name it after myself, but my dad’s William and his dad’s William. You can go back for centuries. It’s crazy.
“So for me, it’s about honoring my ancestry,” he said.
Gross’ favorite part of the business is being able to look at the big picture. Instead of being caught up in the nitty-gritty of getting arrangements ready and delivered on time, Gross enjoys trying new things and being able to help people celebrate.
“We help people share (their sentiments) to people they truly care about,” he said.
One unique way Flowers to Go helps share those feelings is their “name game” they have on their sign outside the shop on Bethel Road and at other locations.
When you drive by the shop, every day the same message will be displayed with a small twist. It’ll read, “If your name is ‘blank’, come in for a free rose.”
“The name game has been going on for at least 15 years,” Gross said. “We’ve been doing it for a long time and people love it.”
In fact, people love it so much, three couples last year got engaged, all because of the sign.
“We’ll make it specific with a first and last name to say, ‘Hey, come get a rose,’ so they know it’s them. And then, their boyfriend is here waiting for them,” Gross said.
And just so you know, every time they’ve done it, the proposals have been a success.
Everyone loves flowers
“People like to look at our signs,” Gross said. “Even young boys like receiving flowers.
“We’ve had old men, women, children, people across the board. It’s a fun gesture that people get excited about, and I don’t see it going anywhere.”
And while a new lucky person each day gets a free rose, roses are some of their biggest sellers.
In preparation for Valentine’s Day, Flowers to Go is holding more than 16,000 roses in their warehouse waiting to be sent out.
“Valentine’s Day is huge,” Gross said. “But we do bouquets all over.”
Gross describes the shop’s style as defined by their contemporary bouquets with premium flowers.
On their website, you can see arrangements full of roses, lilies, hydrangeas and more, displayed for different occasions.
“I love the aspect that we help celebrate milestones in life that touch people,” Gross said.
“From weddings, first prom, high-school graduation, promotion or new babies, we touch lives, and it’s a lot of fun to do that.”