Roses for Hillary: Yarmouth flower business delivers

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YARMOUTH — Calyx Flowers in Yarmouth is used to filling large orders for events, but a recent request for 1,000 roses left the owners shocked.

It wasn’t the size of the order that surprised Kap Wallingford, but the recipient. The roses were being sent to Hillary Clinton.

“I was so overwhelmed and honored that I instantly started to shake,” Wallingford said.

Wallingford, of Freeport, and her husband Mark Ranalletti have owned Calyx Flowers for one year. They purchased it from Vermont Holding Co.

The couple doesn’t have a physical flower shop, but run the online company at 305 U.S. Route 1. They work with farms and flower growers all over the country and world.

Wallingford and Ranalletti have three direct employees, but between growers, marketers, and a call center, Calyx Flowers works with more than 300 people. The company uses the SaviLinx call center in Brunswick.

The order for Clinton was placed on Nov. 11, three days after the former secretary of state lost the presidential election to Republican Donald Trump. The flower order was placed by UltraViolet, a nonprofit organization that works to fight sexism and expand women’s rights, as a surprise gift for Clinton.

Wallingford said she doesn’t know why UltraViolet chose to place its order with Calyx Flowers. Several attempts to contact officials at UltraViolet were unsuccessful.

Wallingford said SaviLinx informs her when large orders are placed, and when she was told about the order for Clinton, she became anxious and excited. She wouldn’t say who she supported in the presidential election, but said she wanted the flowers to be perfect for Clinton.

“I said, ‘I don’t want a single mistake,'” Wallingford said.

UltraViolet asked that the roses be delivered to Clinton’s New York home 12 hours after the order was placed. Wallingford said she quickly contacted her vendors, and found that one in Chicago had a large quantity of roses available. She said she was worried she wouldn’t be able to find enough roses because they’re not in season.

“I said to my husband, ‘If I need to go to every single florist from here to New York, I will get 1,200 roses,'” she said.

Because of the well-known status of the recipient, Wallingford added an additional 200 roses to the order for free. The long-stemmed roses, which Wallingford made sure had no thorns, were pink, purple, and a wide variety of reds.

Wallingford said her team worked fast to fill the order, and, despite the short deadline, she said the roses were delivered to Clinton’s home on time.

“To have something so impromptu and to have it ready in 12 hours, I can’t believe my team did it,” she said.

According to Jenna Lowenstein, Clinton’s digital director, Clinton brought the flowers to a campaign team staff party the night they were delivered and distributed them to her staff.

“They sent 1,200 roses to my house, and I thought, ‘What can I do with 1,200 roses?’ and I said I want to make sure everyone involved with this campaign … gets a rose,” Clinton said in a video recorded at the Nov. 11 party.

Wallingford said she was happy Clinton liked the flowers.

“I’m just really glad that she was pleased and that she passed that joy onto other people,” she said. “I love the idea that those roses had an amazing train of happiness.”

In the video, which was recorded by Samy Nemir Olivares, Clinton told her staff members to take a rose and “think of the hope it represents and the love that so many people around our country have for all of us.”

Wallingford said that message is what her business is all about.

“When we bought the company, we knew that we were doing what would make people feel loved,” she said.

Although the order was for Clinton, which made it an important order, Wallingford said, it was also important because the flowers would be making someone happy in a time of despair.

“The country is in turmoil still, or shock (because of the results of the Nov. 8 election), but what we do is make people feel better about their situation,” she said. “Flowers remind people that they’re not forgotten.”

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Kap Wallingford, president and co-owner of Calyx Flowers in Yarmouth, recently filled an order of more than 1,000 roses for Hillary Clinton. (Kate Gardner / The Forecaster)

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.
  • funfundvierzig

    A fitting funereal finish for the demise of a long political career.

    …funfun..

  • IMHOFWIW

    Take Hillary out of the picture entirely – does it bother anyone else that a group with a non-profit status can do such an extravagant thing – instead of using their dollars for their stated intent….