Best Florist: Pierson’s Flower Shop

By Cindy Hadish

Al Pierson, co-owner of Pierson’s Flower Shop, exemplifies the personal attention his florists provide and is one of the reasons Pierson’s was chosen Best of the Corridor.

“I’m here seven days a week,” Mr. Pierson, 57, said at the plant-filled shop at 1800 Ellis Blvd. NW in Cedar Rapids. A second store, run by his brother and co-owner, Rollie Pierson, is located at 1961 Blairs Ferry Road NE. “That’s one of the keys to our success, being hands-on.”

Excellent service is just one of the reasons customers have grown to love Pierson’s. Fans on social media cite a knowledgeable staff and the largest selection of exotic plants and orchids in Eastern Iowa, along with the family-owned nature of the business, now in its third generation.

The brothers’ grandparents, Roland and Ruth Pierson, opened the business in 1928 at the same Ellis Boulevard site, which not only survived the Great Depression, but the 2008 flood.

Stepping inside the greenhouses full of lush tropical plants, hanging ferns, flowering begonias and unusual succulents, the waters that ravaged the shop and neighborhood seem a distant memory.

Mr. Pierson noted that many nearby customers’ homes were wiped out by the flood, further changing the way the shops do business, with up to 50 percent of orders now coming online.

“We use Google and Yahoo and Bing to reach out to people across the country,” Mr. Pierson said, a marked change from the days when advertisements in local newspapers sufficed.

Orders are now computerized and customers can track when the deliveries are made.

“It’s done much more efficiently,” Mr. Pierson said.

Another change comes in deliveries made to the store, with fresh cut flowers arriving almost daily, compared to the large truck that made monthly deliveries in the past.

Mr. Pierson said same-day deliveries of floral arrangements and other gifts can be made nearly every day of the year throughout Linn and Johnson counties, along with Benton and Iowa counties, something that other shops cannot match.

“People count on us to get it out and we can do it on short notice,” he said.

The 10,000 square feet of greenhouse space at the Ellis location is used to grow many of the plants used for business customers in the Corridor, including some of the colleges at the University of Iowa.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the seasonal nature of the floral business, with Valentine’s Day easily topping the charts as the single busiest day and the week surrounding Mother’s Day as an even busier time period.

Customers’ favorite choice of flowers also has changed little over time, Mr. Pierson said, with roses the top seller, by far.



1 Time Best Florist (new category)