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Dillon University


Continuing Education

 

The following article is reprinted with permission from SAF's Floral Management Magazine November 1999 Issue. Visit SAF on-line at: www.safnow.org

 

With all the direct buying options, how does a local wholesaler stay relevant to its retail customers? Wholesaler Dillon Floral Company in Bloomsburg, PA, has found the answer in "Dillon University". Through this educational program, Dillon not only better equips customers to sell their product, but also offers a unique service that separates Dillon from its competition.

"For a retailer, the classes are a great time saver for two reasons: the amount of information you learn and the short class periods," says retailer Ann Guerriero of Ricker Brothers Florist in Lock Haven, PA. According to Guerriero, the classes are beneficial because they hit on topics that florists should know about but don't have time to follow. For Guerriero, the "Internet Basics" class was a perfect example of such a topic.

"We knew from our surveys after we had done a few seminars that retailers wanted to learn about more than just design," says Katy Miller, Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Dillon. "We compile survey responses and choose topics that we think are good, basic skills to have."

Although still in its infancy, this year the Dillon University schedule includes at least 12 classes divided between three Dillon locations. Subjects include "Customer-Driven Selling," " Fall - Christmas Design Show," "Internet Basics," and "Financial Management/Cash Flow." Dillon uses instructors who are local college teachers, floral designers (J. Schwanke, AAF, AIFD was a recent instructor), and business consultants (such as Herb Mitchell, a monthly contributor to Floral Management).

>At the end of each program, retailers receive certificates to recognize their participation. "The programs offer all kinds of new ideas - otherwise you can get into a rut," Guerriero says. "By attending the wedding workshop for example, we were able to update our corsage making methods. The sessions also provide the opportunity to network with other florists there."

The classes are free for retailers, and in order to encourage attendance, the class schedule is designed with florists in mind. "We work around the holidays and try to have programs during traditionally slow months," Miller says. Attendance ranges anywhere between 20 and 100 florists, but often the available space dictates the number of students.

In providing this education, we hope that retailers will remember that they have a vendor that helps them to succeed, and therefore choose us as a primary wholesaler," Miller says. "If retailers succeed, we succeed."

 

For more information call:1-800-DILLONS.
Or, contact kzm1@dillonfloral.com

Dillon University... where learning leads to success

WHOLESALERS: Because it takes more than flowers to grow your business.