Everything’s coming up roses for the Boston Flower Exchange.
Vendors at the century-old wholesale operation were supposed to vacate their sprawling South End home this week, but instead will remain there for another month to avoid any disruption during the pivotal Valentine’s Day sales period.
“It’s good to have a little breathing room,” said Gerry Cupp, owner of Cupp & Cupp Corp. at the exchange. “With Valentine’s Day coming up, it was better to stay. We’re ramping up now for it, and will be in full gear by Saturday.”
The property’s new owners, the Abbey Group, who plan to redevelop the site, granted the vendors an extension through the end of February after the vendors expressed concern that moving in January could impact Valentine’s Day sales, the first major holiday of the year in the flower business.
“This is one of the busiest times of the year for the Flower Exchange, and we’re happy to help the current vendors out as they handle the Valentine’s Day rush,” said Bill Keravuori, Managing Partner at The Abbey Group.
Abbey Group is under contract to buy the Boston Flower Exchange property reportedly for more than $40 million and plans to covert the 5.6-acre site into a tech office campus. The co-op’s remaining dozen vendors were told they had to move out, but their leases, which expired at the end of last year, were extended through January to avoid disruption of sales during the Christmas holiday season.
“Fortunately the Abbey Group, they’ve always been very good to us,” said Cupp, who has been selling cut flowers from the exchange for more than 35 years.
Ten of the 12 vendors plan to relocate to a 65,000-square-foot facility on 2nd Street in Chelsea and operate as the New England Flower Exchange. One vendor will move next door to Jacobson Floral Supply, and another vendor retired and closed shop.
Cupp, who holds the master lease in the new Chelsea location, said the facility is “99 percent ready” and that they could get their occupancy permit by the end of the week. He said he hopes to be ready to start operations there March 1.