Petals & Stems celebrates 45 years of flower service
By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP
For Dotty and Lew Weinstein — and their son Brad — their business has smelled sweeter with every prepared bouquet during the past 45 years.
“The business of Petals & Stems is about special moments — we’ve been a part of thousands of memories. What an incredible business this is,” said Lew, the Weinstein patriarch who opened the doors to Petals & Stems in June 1972.
With a strong business sense and experience, but a business partner who wilted and left him sole owner, a budding legacy was created.
Always in the same Montfort Drive shopping center, resettling a few doors away at one point, Petals & Stems has a history, and client list, that is lasting. They’ve delivered customer service and stunning floral artistry for generations of families — from baby celebrations to bar mitzvahs and boutonnieres, from weddings to funeral arrangements. Each customer, each posy: precious.
“On countless occasions Petals & Stems made my tables look and smell so beautiful,” said Carol Gene Cohen, whose family has been listed in the Weinsteins’ Rolodex for years. “They did the flowers for four bar mitzvahs, two weddings and more celebrations and dinners. Every arrangement has been stunning.”
Dotty and Lew are the parents of Brad (spouse Keri), Jeff (Ava), and Lori (Grant), and grandparents of Ansley, Ari, Brice, Gabe and Jill. The family’s best vacations, to Colorado, Lake Tahoe, and this year to San Francisco, are for tables of 13.
In 1997, Brad joined his parents, and for the last two decades the generations have worked hand in hand. With more than 20 employees, and a business that continues to blossom, Lew takes care of the bills, receivables, and payroll while Brad handles the day-to-day operations.
“I grew up riding with deliveries, never thinking the store would be my future, but I’ve loved working with my parents. They’re great people, great business owners, and great examples of working hard and providing exceptional care to their customers,” said Brad, noting the family business also included his grandfather Arthur, who was an important part of the team for many years. “Believe me, your florist knows everything — and we love being there for our clients’ every-things.”
When the store opened, the Weinsteins couldn’t get flowers from Europe; now, many are in the store 36 hours after they’ve been cut. From Israel, one of the top 10 floral exporters, the Weinsteins order the popular Gerbera Daisy.
Petals & Stems has weathered grocers, 800 numbers and the internet — all offering flower sales — finding new clientele by providing an online catalogue and partnering with the Teleflora network. Their Rolodex has morphed into email contacts, sharing specials and contests — during this anniversary month they gave away 45 bouquets.
“Service and family always come first,” said Dotty, a former teacher, recalling her children would be in the truck while the couple would clean up after celebrations. “Lew gave birth to the store and has devoted so much to the service part of the business. Local Jewish caterers took us under their wings and wanted to give him the business.”
The Weinsteins’ professional design team has decorated Metroplex homes, hotels and headquarters. During a 1995 Jewish Federation trip to Israel, with 400 Dallasites, Lew and Dotty couldn’t get over how many people recounted the occasions that Petals & Stems had serviced.
Keeping calendars for their clients, reminding them of birthdays and anniversaries, is a touch to success. Carol Gene Cohen made notes of calls she’s received before she had a chance to order. Brad says clients take care of them as well, with cookies and other treats showing up for the floral team on Valentine’s Day and other occasions. Dotty recalls many husbands who’ve called with “thanks for keeping me out of trouble,” also remembering Southwest Airlines bringing lunch to the store. “Imagine the customer buying us lunch,” she said.
Wanting to give back to the ever-grateful community, for almost 15 years the Weinsteins have donated 10 percent of $30 minimum sales, for deliveries, phone orders, simchas, and arrangements picked up at the shop to synagogues purchasers designate. They also hold floral decorating contests with prizes donated to charities chosen by winners.
“Brad keeps bringing new inspiration, vitality and spark to the business,” said Lew, proud that some in the next generation are stepping in to help out too. “He’s tripled our business and, like all of our kids, made us proud. To know that Petals & Stems is where it is, because our family has worked together, is very special to us.”
Never losing the personal Weinstein touch, either Brad or Lew, or both, are always at the store, located at 13319 Montfort Drive. To place an order, call 972-233-9037 or visit petalsandstems.com.