1-800-Flowers is a floral and gift retailer and distribution company in the United States. It was one of the first retailers to use a 24 x 7 toll-free telephone number and the Internet for direct sales to consumers.
The concept of using 1-800-Flowers as a mnemonic phone number was originated by Carl Westcott, who later sold his business to Jim Poage and John Davis in 1982. Their failed business, along with the rights to the toll-free number, were acquired in 1986 by Jim McCann, an owner of several flower shops in the New York City area since 1976.
In the early 1990s, two events helped bring 1-800-Flowers to national prominence. First, AT&T created an advertising campaign featuring the company that aired repeatedly during the 1992 Summer Olympics. Second, at the time of the first Persian Gulf War, many advertisers were pulling out of CNN, unaware that CNN’s war coverage would draw additional viewers. 1-800-Flowers agreed to remain as an advertiser at founder Ted Turner’s request.
The company was among the first retailers to partner with CompuServe and AOL, in 1992 and 1994 respectively. In April 1995, the company was one of the first retailers to establish its own Internet sales site. In 1999, the company went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker symbol FLWS and changed its name to 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, to match its web site address.
The company fills its orders in two ways: through a network of florists and through drop shipments. It established a florist-to-florist network called BloomNet, and is one of several floral wire services in the country today.
The company has merged with or acquired a number of other gift and retailing companies. In September 2007 the company announced a partnership with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to produce a line of floral products inspired by Martha Stewart. In August 2011, the company acquired Flowerama, a Waterloo-based floral retailer with 100 locations in 28 states.
The company is headquartered in Carle Place, New York, on Long Island.