The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a new level of creativity among small Sonoma County businesses. Independent bookstores are offering curbside pickup, craft distilleries are keeping hand sanitizer flowing, animal preserves are inviting guests for virtual tours, and restaurants are putting fresh produce and toilet paper on their takeout menus.
Among these innovative initiatives is a Healdsburg flower shop that has figured out a clever way to deliver some much-needed delight during the pandemic.
At Dragonfly Floral you can now shop for more than flower arrangements — their online farm stand boasts close to 40 local vendors selling everything from veggies, eggs, wine and meats to silver jewelry — all available for delivery.
Carlisle Degischer, who owns Dragonfly Floral with her mother, Bonnie Z, has endured the impact of recent fires and floods on her business. When the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of all non-essential businesses, she quickly thought of a way to keep her flower shop, and other local businesses, going.
“I knew everyone would be looking for homes for their products and ways to make money,” said Degischer. “I started building a website and taking orders over night.”
Degischer started working with local companies that make products she wanted to make sure she would continue to have access to, including (but not limited to) fresh vegetables from F.E.E.D. Sonoma, meats from Journeyman Meat Co., baked goods from Quail & Condor, Russian River Tea, and Volo chocolate.
“I’m really excited about the diversity and ever-evolving list of items. We have sold a little bit of everything,” said Degischer. “It is totally random. One week everyone is buying honey, the next everyone wants jam. Eggs and Genovese basil almost always sell out immediately.”
Dragonfly’s online farm stand went live just a few days after the Sonoma County shelter in place order was issued. So far, they’ve received more than 700 orders.
“The response has been incredible,” said Degischer. “We are so grateful to our community for the support that they have shown.”
Degischer’s initiative has enabled her to collaborate in a new way with local businesses that previously ordered fresh flowers from her store, among them The Spinster Sisters restaurant in Santa Rosa.
“When she [Degischer] approached us about this idea, I thought it was a perfect way to stay connected, and to introduce our Spinster Pantry line to more of Sonoma County. When pandemic hits — we pivot!” said Liza Hinman, chef and co-owner of The Spinster Sisters and The Astro Motel.
Free delivery of products from the online farm stand is offered Tuesday through Sunday within Healdsburg on all orders of $25 or more. On select days of the week, Dragonfly also provides free delivery on orders of $75 or more to neighboring communities, including Santa Rosa, Cloverdale, Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, and West County.
While the situation remains difficult for many, being able to get a hand-tied bouquet of locally farmed flowers along with French Roast coffee delivered to your doorstep may be the kind of silver lining we’re all searching for these days.
“I am so glad I have smart business women and wonderful friends like Carlisle to work with in finding ways to keep our mutual brands alive and well, even in such uncertain times,” said Hinman.
Shop the Dragonfly online farm stand here: healdsburgflowers.com/shop.html#