The floral industry isn't exactly blooming these days.
According to the Society of American Florists, there were 25,617 floral shops in America in 1998.
By 2009, that number dropped to 17,493, a difference of 8,493.
It is estimated another 4,000 floral shops will close nationwide in the next two years.
We're told 3 floral shops have gone out of business in Roanoke in the past year.
Floral shops say the downturn in the economy, increased competition from the internet, and big box chains are the reasons for so many closures.
Stores like Walmart and Kroger can sell flowers at cheaper prices because they buy so much volume.
Jim Taetz owns Crystal Orchid Flower Shoppe in downtown Roanoke. He told News 7, "You don't compete. If you compete with them you are going to go out of business."
George's Flowers is also feel the pinch from the big box stores.
George's used to have two locations in Roanoke, now there is one.
The owner says they're no longer growing their business 10% every year like they once did.
George's has had to change to survive.
"We've learned to buy as much as direct as possible. Some of those flowers come in fedexed. We get special fed ex rates," said Owner George Clements.
George's is also considering joining a direct buy club with other florists on the east coast. That way they can buy flowers in bulk like the chains do.
Independent floral shops believe they are still a better buy than the chains. They argue they offer better design, better customer service, and delivery.
"People go to mass market stores like Walmart because they get good value. The only thing is they get good value but I don't think they get good customer service," said Jim Taetz.