Tri-Cities floral shop plans for impact of statewide minimum wage increase

Just Roses Flowers & More will see approximately $10,000 immediate effect from new state law
Business owner and employees stand in front of shop

Businesses across Washington are preparing for wage increases due to new state laws going into effect Wednesday, January 1, 2020.

Minimum wage will increase to $13.50 an hour statewide as a multi-year plan instated by I-1433 will continue. Since 2017, minimum wage has steadily increased and by 2021, Washington plans for minimum wage to be set at $15 an hour.

Just Roses Flowers & More is a Tri-Cities based business bracing for the change in state law. Business owner, Sanford Wormington, spoke with KAPP-KVEW about the increase.

“Washington state is in for a rude awakening on Thursday,” Wormington said.

Wormington says many businesses like his will experience a hit because of the change and will have to slowly increase the price of their goods to customers.

He says Just Roses Flowers & More will experience an approximately $10,000 immediate effect. That increase won’t be coming from product costs, instead it will mainly be from labor costs. He says many of the products come from California and central America like Mexico, Ecuador and Columbia.

“There won’t be an increase in product costs for us, just labor costs,” Wormington said, “We also have to raise labor costs for our long-term workers.”

Wormington says businesses will have to get a strategy together. He spoke to a local franchise owner that will be increasing the price of sodas and menu items. Wormington in planning a similar strategy, but on flowers.

“The customer will have to understand that their flowers are still the same quality but we have to increase the price to deal with the blow,” Wormington said, “It is not something we want to do, we just have to follow the new rules and make up for it somehow.”

Wormington is worried about losing customers to the price hike though. He says many companies will have to react to the new minimum wage laws the same way, and with tight competition in the area, he fears some people may find an alternative to flowers during special occasions.

Just Roses Flowers & More regularly employees around 10 people but during holidays they have to hire more staff.

“Some of our biggest days are Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day,” Wormington said.

With Valentine’s Day being the first major holiday after the 2020 minimum wage increase, Wormington hopes they won’t experience the same troubles as they did in 2019. In February, the Tri-Cities experienced record snowfall. Wormington said the winter conditions majorly impacted his flower deliveries and sales.

“We are hoping to come back from last Valentine’s Day because that was rough,” Wormington said “The next Valentine’s Day is on a Friday, which should be really good if the weather stays clear.”

The switch will go into effect on January 1, 2020.