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  • Author or Editor: Thomas L. Prince x
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A survey analysis of retail florists in the Midwestern United States and floral mass marketers, nationally, profiled the level of service provided by their primary floral suppliers on 10 service characteristics. There is substantial variability in service levels provided to retail florists and mass marketers by suppliers. The greatest variability in service levels was for services relative to maintenance of product quality, product availability, communications/order information, product discounts, and product labeling. Retail florists perceived higher levels of service relative to delivery speed and order/delivery reliability than mass marketers. Mass marketers perceived higher levels of service from suppliers relative to communications/order information and product labeling, compared to retail florists. The service profiles provide floral suppliers management information for the development of service programs targeted for specific customer segments.

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Survey analysis of retail florists in the midwestern United States and floral mass marketers, nationally, identified 18 major services provided by floral suppliers for their retail customers and quantified the retailers' perceived importance of the services. Product quality maintenance, order/delivery reliability, product availability, response to problems, and personnel courtesy were rated by retailers as the five most important services provided by floral suppliers. Retail florists viewed the importance of the 18 services with primary and secondary concerns, whereas mass marketers largely viewed the services as equally important. Mass marketers perceived services related to product marketing, packaging, labeling, and communication/order information services with greater importance than retail florists. The service profiles provide floral suppliers with market information to develop more effective service programs targeted for specific customer segments.

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Retail florists' performance ratings of services provided by wholesale growers, wholesale florists, and grower-shippers/brokers were factor-analyzed to yield a hierarchical classification of customer service in floral distribution. Nine customer service factors were identified and three major independent classes of customer service were defined, including 1) physical distribution, 2) marketing, and 3) product quality services. Florists rated the performance of suppliers' physical distribution services higher than marketing and product quality services. Florists' perception of physical distribution and product quality services did not vary across type of supplier, but for marketing services, florists rated wholesale growers higher in performance than wholesale florists. The hierarchical classification of customer service and service performance profiles provide the floral industry with relevant market information for the successful development and effective implementation of customer service programs.

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The relationship between poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Kl.) maturity and premature flower bud initiation (splitting) was evaluated. Changes in root growth, phyllotaxy, and heterophylly of `Annette Hegg Dark Red' poinsettia stock plants and cuttings in response to repeated severe pruning (hedging) and the chemical growth regulators gibberellic acid (GA4+7), PBA, or ethephon were evaluated. Cuttings taken from hedged stock plants exhibited a phyllotaxy of 1/3 to 2/5, extensive root growth (characteristics of juvenility in poinsettia), and a low level of splitting (34%). Cuttings taken from nonhedged stock plants exhibited a phyllotaxy of 3/8, reduced root growth (characteristics of maturity in poinsettia), and a high level of splitting 177%). There was a moderate negative correlation (-0.75) between root growth and splitting and a strong positive correlation (0.94) between splitting and phyllotaxy. Cuttings treated with gibberellic acid or PBA exhibited elliptic to ovate leaves (a juvenile characteristic) and levels of splitting ranging from 20% to 90%, depending on concentration and application timing. Untreated cuttings and those treated with ethephon exhibited lobed leaves (an adult characteristic) and levels of splitting ranging from 82% to 100%. Names of the chemical growth regulators were: trihydroxy-1-methyl-8-methylenegibb-3-ene-1,10-dicarboxylic acid 1,-4a-lactone (GA4+7); N-(phenylmethyl)-9-)tetrahydro-2H-pyran-2-yl)-9H-purin-6-amine (PBA); (2-chloroethyl) phosphonic acid (ethephon).

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Experiments were conducted with poinsettia [Euphorbia pulcherrima (Willd. ex. Klotzsch)] to determine the 1) existence of developmental phases from seedling establishment to flower induction and 2) characteristics that may be used to delineate the phases. The characteristics evaluated were flowering and rooting ability, heterophylly and other leaf characteristics, phyllotaxy, and internode characteristics. Two developmental phases, juvenility and maturity, were identified. The transition between these phases occurred in poinsettias that were 6 to 8 weeks old, following establishment. Mean values for flowering ability, rooting ability, phyllotaxy, and heterophylly differed for the two developmental phases, rendering them the most useful of the characteristics evaluated for identifying developmental phases in poinsettia.

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