After a remarkable 40 years with the Philadelphia Flower Show, family owned Kremp Florist is not only one of the longest running vendors at the nine-day event — it’s one of the only vendors that actually sells cut flowers.
“It’s funny,” says Kremp Florist President Scott Kremp during a recent tour of his shop, “we’re really the only people that sell flowers [at the show]. There’s one other booth out of a hundred and some.”
He ponders this for a moment, and then adds, “There used to be three — us and two others.”
More than 180 vendors set up shop at the Flower Show every year, offering a wide array of goods, from custom handbags to homemade hot fudge, from bonsai plants to Haitian metal wall art. But if eventgoers are looking to pick up arrangements of fresh-cut roses or tulips, their options are surprisingly few.
“It’s tough work” peddling flowers at the annual event, “because flowers are perishable,” explains Kremp. “The people that sell jelly and the people that sell their paintings, well, they set their paintings up on Friday, and if they don’t sell them, they pack them up and move them to the next show.”
Buckets of unsold roses, pussy willows and eucalyptuses, on the other hand, don’t look so nice after a week sitting out in the Convention Center. It takes a lot of planning and manpower to keep healthy, strikingly colorful flowers on display every day.
“It’s got to look good and it’s got to last,” Kremp says. “If someone takes it home and it dies the next day, they’re not coming back to you next year. So it’s tough to be able to do that and sell [the flowers] at a price that’s not very expensive.”
Most businesses don’t have the resources to make it work, he says.
It helps that Kremp’s Jenkintown shop is only about 45 minutes from the Convention Center, he adds, making it possible to do much of the prep work back at headquarters rather than on the event floor.
But there’s more to it than that. Kremp Florist’s staff — as well as its physical location — has grown exponentially during the shop’s 56 years; this is no small operation.
It would be reasonable to expect an independent flower shop to inhabit a small space, cramped even, with arrangements towering claustrophobic and maybe one or two apron-clad employees in sight. But this is not so with Kremp Florist, whose location, upon entering, is a wide feast for the eyes — a “super store,” as Kremp calls it.
Borderline eccentric in appearance, the store is busting with trinkets, stuffed animals, greeting cards, novelty items, a bathtub filled with wreaths, a stone koi pond, some live turtles, a human-sized statue of a butler, and, yes, tons of flowers — cyclamen, primulas, mums, you name it. Somewhere unseen, down in the nursery, a large bird is cawing.
If Willy Wonka owned a small-town flower shop, it might resemble Kremp’s.
The store’s abundant character hints at what made the Kremp family attractive to the ABC sitcom “The Goldbergs,” which features fictionalized versions of Scott, his parents and, most often, his brother, Chad. Now in its third season, the show has grown quite a following.
During Flower Show week, Kremp says, “that’s when you notice how many people really watch [‘The Goldbergs’] and tie us to it, which is kind of neat.” Last year, about 30 people stopped by the Kremp booths every day just to take selfies and talk about the show, he says. “It’s a fun topic to talk about.”
With 40 years of experience and a network comedy under its belt, Kremp Florist is something of an elder statesman at the Flower Show, a staple and an example for newer vendors. And, Kremp says, it’s just nice to have a weeklong break from normal business life.
“For us, what makes [the Flower Show] really fun is it’s different from the day-to-day situation: people coming in and buying flowers and taking them home. We’re family members, and a lot of key staff, and we’re all down there together,” he says.
“It’s a busy, busy, busy atmosphere, but it’s fun. It’s back-breaking, but it’s something we all look forward to every year.”
For more information on Kremp Florist, visit www.Kremp.com.