1-800-Flowers, is a major floral and gift, retailer and distribution company, in the United States. It was one of the first retailers to use a 24 x 7 toll-free telephone number and online media and the Internet for direct sales to consumers. The company specializes in retail sales of flowers and gift items within the United States.
The concept of using 1-800-Flowers as a mnemonic phone number originally started with Carl Westcott, who later sold his business to Jim Poage and John Davis in 1982. Their failed business, along with the rights to the toll-free number, were acquired in 1986 by Jim McCann, an owner of several flower shops in the New York City area since 1976.
In the early 1990s, two events helped to catapult 1-800-Flowers into national prominence. First, AT&T created an advertising campaign featuring 1-800-Flowers which was so successful that it was aired repeatedly during the 1992 Summer Olympics. Second, during the first Persian Gulf War, many advertisers were pulling out of CNN (then a fledgling enterprise when the concept of cable news was new), unbeknownst to them that CNN's coverage would eventually draw enormous ratings. 1-800-Flowers agreed to remain as an advertiser at owner Ted Turner's request.
The company was among the first retailers to partner with online pioneers CompuServe and AOL in 1992 and 1994, respectively. In April 1995, the company was one of the first retailers to establish its own Internet presence. In 1999, the company went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker symbol FLWS. It was then that the company officially changed its trademarked name to 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, to match its Web site URL.
The company fulfils its orders in two ways: through a network of florists, and through drop shipment of flowers and gift items.
In subsequent years, the company has merged or acquired a number of other gift and retailing companies. It also established a business-to-business division, called BloomNet, a floral wire service florist network. In September 2007 the company announced a strategic partnership with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to produce a line of floral products inspired by Martha Stewart .
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