A GoFundMe Campaign raises funds to support employees and suppliers of the San Francisco Flower Market (640 Brannan St.), which was forced to close on short notice early last week after San Francisco’s shelter-in-place order went into effect.
Delano Nursery manager Lauren Borden launched the campaign last week. She said most vendors are small, family-owned businesses with two to 10 employees, and many won’t be able to sustain payrolls in April, even with the best of intentions.
Wholesale Flower Market, also known as Flower Mart, has a long history. According to its website, the first market opened in 1924 at 5th and Howard streets. The need for a larger permanent facility led to the move to the current warehouse at 6th and Brannan streets, originally known as the San Francisco Flower Terminal, in 1956.
As of press time, the GoFundMe has raised $15,020 of a $200,000 goal from 156 donors. Borden told Hoodline that the funds will be distributed to each supplier based on their needs, including the number of employees.
She said that currently no funeral or wedding gets their flowers delivered and their customers, including event planners, retail florists, interior designers, caterers and plant shops, who depend generally from the proper functioning of the flower market, themselves remain closed.
Borden explained that they received no notice of the shelter-in-place order last week, and there was no time to distribute or donate flowers to hospitals or senior centers. With schools closed, they also couldn’t use floral products for projects there. Much of the highly perishable produce ended up being wasted. “The flowering plants won’t last,” she said.
Borden, who also sits on the steering committee of a new flower market facility in Potrero Hill at 17th and Mississippi streets, said she had worked for different companies at the Flower Market over the past ten years.
Many employees, who often earn minimum wage, live from paycheck to paycheck, she said. She thinks the effects of the closure will be “devastating for their families”, noting it’s not an easy job as shifts are often 12-12 noon.
“Many patrons have been the best donors [so far]”, she said, and she hopes the fundraiser will be active for a few weeks. Borden and other members of the flower market are currently working on a list to see how they can best distribute the funds raised in according to individual needs.
“It’s going to be hard to bounce back,” she said.