The Economics Behind Eastern Market’s Flower Day

The buzz about Flower Day starts long before many of us hear the buzzing of bees. Eastern Market begins preparing for the famous and flora-fabulous event in February.

According to Ike Austin of, Eastern Market makes $12 million annually in sales. Thirty-seven percent of the flower sales are bedding flowers and flats. The prices for those plants average between $5 and $10. Their second highest selling flora is rose bushes, making up 23.1 percent. Cut flowers make up only 7.9 percent of sales.

“Flower Day has had a profound impact on the Eastern Market District by raising awareness of Eastern Market,” according to EMP CEO Dan Carmody. “Many market customers first discover the joyful chaos of Eastern Market via Flower Day because the event has always generated a great deal of media attention. Many District merchants and non-flower vendors enjoy their highest sales on Flower Day.

Austin estimates that 10,000 people stroll through per day—or 300,000 people a month–and 5,000 vehicles park in the area.

“It’s the Superbowl of flowers,” said Jerry Tunier, president of the Metro Detroit Flower Growers Association and owner of Post Gardens. “It’s the place where you can do your one-stop shopping. It’s the kickoff of the summer season.

“You’re going to find what you’re looking for down there. If you’re looking for a Venus flytrap, you’ll find it down there. If you need 20 flats of one color, you’ll find it down there. And that’s the biggest thing about Flower Day: a retailer will sell only 20 flats of a particular plant or color of plant, but if you need 40, you’ll find it at Flower Day.”

Laura Gibson, the Eastern Market Partnership’s (EMP) senior marketing manager shared some of the Black vendors that will be in attendance. They include Amazing Apparel 2, Bev’s Fashion, C & L Sales, Naim Unique Designs, Universal Earth Creations, Shionne Designs, Bjacklean and Michelle’s Creations. Black-owned food businesses Love’s Custard Pie and Flavorful Creations LLC will be on hand, too, and Detroit Mini Donut is coming with its food truck.

Eastern Market also has Flower Tuesday Markets on May 16, 2, and 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Sheds 5 and 6. According to the EMP’s Facebook page, Tuesday Markets “have flower selections from Eastern Market growers, smaller crowds and easier parking” as well as “flower vendors in Shed 6 every day from Mother’s Day till Father’s Day from sunrise to sunset.” People can also purchase flowers and plants in-person at the weekly Saturday Markets throughout flower season.

Flower Day officially started in 1966 on the Michigan State Fairgrounds. In 1968, the event moved to Eastern Market and has become one of summer’s most anticipated events in Michigan. This year’s flower fest—which will be held Sunday, May 21, from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m–will feature 65 vendors from around the Midwest.



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