Small florists struggle for differentiation from Internet middlemen

News from San Jose Mercury News:

Still struggling in the post-recession, local flower shops aren’t just competing with supermarkets, discounters and do-it-yourselfers. They’re fighting to survive as a growing number of online middlemen known as “order gatherers” sweep into the marketplace and take orders local florists used to receive.

Sounds like an old story: Brick-and-mortar stores battle booming Internet competitors. But florists say these third-party retailers are using deceptive advertising and failing to give consumers a fair deal.

“It’s like a tsunami that can’t be stopped,” said Rick Pannepacker, owner of Penny’s Flowers in Glenside, Pa., a family business since 1937.

Search online for “flowers” and “Glenside,” and Penny’s pops up. So do FromYouFlowers.com, FlowerDeliveryExpress.com, and other websites that display no local address or phone number, but do include phrases like Glenside Flowers and Best Glenside, P……………. continues on San Jose Mercury News

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