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To get the best value, buy from a local florist instead of a wire service

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There are lots of statistics out there about the economic benefits of buying local. When you buy from locally owned stores, the money stays in your community and puts your neighbors to work.

It’s true whether you spend your money at a local restaurant, hardware store or florist.

Speaking of flowers, buying directly from a local florist rather than through a national wire service such as FTD (which last year bought ProFlowers) or Teleflora can put money back in your pocket, too.

That’s because the wire services are middlemen, adding another layer of charges that consumers pay for without realizing any added value in return. The wire services are marketing companies that hand orders over to local florists, who make the arrangements and deliver them to your home or office.

CNN Money, in a story timed to Valentine’s Day 2013, noted how FTD had advertised a glass vase with roses and mini-carnations for $44.99. However, to send that arrangement to Reno, Nev., FTD’s service charge bumped to price to $65.

By comparison, that same arrangement ordered directly from a Reno florist: $53.

“If all orders came in this way, our business would not be sustainable,” the florist said.

Of course, this begs the question of why they stick with the wire services if florists have trouble making money on incoming orders.

Greg Royer, president and CEO of Royer’s, said that FTD and Teleflora are generally well regarded; they have been in business since 1910 and 1934, respectively.

“We also want to be able to send orders to other florists, so accepting orders via the wire services is only fair play,” he said.

However, he noted that from a consumer perspective, it’s a better deal to work with a local florist. You’ll be dealing with the same people who are going to arrange and deliver your flowers.

And you’ll avoid the added fees associated with the wire services.

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