Monday, July 15, 2024

RNC business; bloom or bust? Local businesses prepare one week out

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WAUKESHA — With less than one week to the Republican National Convention, the perimeters are being staged, the hotels are booked, and the flowers are red.

Waukesha Floral and Greenhouse, the oldest flower shop in Waukesha, has been busy filling in last-minute floral orders for the RNC.

“We are doing patriotic-themed flowers. Red, white, and blue. And now that the convention is next week, we’re doing especially a lot of red,” Denise Gehrke, the store’s Director of Floral, explained.

Denise Gehrke


Denise Gehrke is the Director of Floral at Waukesha Floral and Greenhouse. She came in on her day off to source product for one of their corporate accounts asking for a big, red install for the RNC.

They’re one of the businesses on the RNC Vendor Portal, a one-stop shop for visitors to look up area businesses.

TMJ4 talked with the business in January about what they hoped to see from the convention. On Tuesday, TMJ4’s Kaylee Staral returned to see how things were shaping up ahead of the big week.

“I got a call from one of my corporate accounts who wants a large, red install for the RNC,” Gehrke said, filling in that order on her day off.



Here’s one of the arrangements Gehrke’s staff have made in the past week, and given the nature of the floral industry, she expects more orders in the coming days.

However, all of the RNC hustle can mean less business from others in the area.

“While we have a huge event in Milwaukee, our everyday events that happen every weekend in the summer, there’s not as many this weekend,” Gehrke explained.

Other Waukesha-area businesses on the RNC Vendor Portal said they haven’t received as much business as they originally hoped.

The owner at Bespoke Balloons and Event Services said they received some calls from delegates asking for thousands of a product, an order that was ultimately too big for their local business to fulfill before the convention kicks off.

With around 50,000 people expected to make their way to Milwaukee and the surrounding areas, many businesses say there’s no way to know for certain until the convention is here.

Watch: Waukesha floral business in full bloom ahead of RNC.

RNC business; bloom or bust? Local businesses prepare one week out

“We didn’t know what to expect, but we’re plants, we’re flowers, and we have an opportunity to serve people,” Gehrke smiled.

See all of TMJ4’s Republican National Convention coverage here.

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