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Popular Sarasota flower shop rebrands, plots expansion to new markets

After more than 35 years, Beneva is getting a brand makeover, with a focus on the emotional side of the company's products and services. "We do so much more than just florals," says the CEO.


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  • | 5:00 a.m. May 16, 2023
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David Shuel and COO Sage Patel of Beneva, in Sarasota, which recently went through a rebranding.
David Shuel and COO Sage Patel of Beneva, in Sarasota, which recently went through a rebranding.
Photo by Lori Sax
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After 37 years, Sarasota-based Beneva, formerly known as Beneva Flowers, decided it was time for an upgrade. So the company rebranded. 

The change started about a year ago, and David Shuel, the company’s president and CEO, says it was needed.  

“Everybody just thought we were a flower shop,” he says. “We do so much more than just florals.” 

Beneva Flowers isn’t gone. It’s just that Beneva now also includes business units Beneva Plantscapes, an interior and exterior plantscapes division, and Beneva Weddings and Events. Neither are new to the business, as Shuel started Plantscapes after he acquired the company in 2015 and Weddings and Events has been operating for 30 years. 

The business, prior to the rebranding, was going well with just word of mouth referrals, Shuel says. The company went from one retail location in 2021 to three by the next year. Though he declined to disclose  specifics, Shuel says revenue is up 20% from 2020 and Beneva has gone from a 10-vehicle fleet to 17 vehicles since that year.  

With that in mind, he figured the three different aspects deserved their own brand.

The rebrand comes two years after the company expanded via acquisitions. In 2021 the firm acquired Whidden Flowers in Brandon and Stevens the Florist South in Englewood. Shuel declined to disclose either acquisitions’ purchase price. 

Now all three business units under the rebrand will be provided at each retail location. 



Beneva, meanwhile, didn’t rebrand alone. The company had a bit of help.

“We needed a higher end marketing plan than we were able to develop internally,” Shuel says. That’s why Sarasota-based Milestone Marketing Associates was brought onto the project.  

“They pushed our comfort zone,” he says, adding the company had to focus on answering important questions like: “What kind of company do we want to be? Where do we see ourselves in the near future? Five years? 10 years?”  

“It was tough for me at first because I liked the way we were doing things,” Shuel says. “It took a little persuading from Milestone (Marketing Associates) and some of our executives here.” 

The rebranding included adopting a new logo, color, tagline, marketing strategy and even uniforms. The meticulous process meant making sure there was consistency in branding before announcing to the public. Everything from business cards and email signatures to uniforms and price tags had to be analyzed to reflect the changes. 

The company tagline is now “Share your emotions.” 

“That’s what our business is,” he says. “It’s an emotional business.” 

The marketing strategy going forward will be coming up with ways to tap into customers emotions.

“It’s going to grow our business,” Shuel says, “and give us an opportunity to achieve our long term goals.”

One of the goals Shuel hopes to carry out in the next five years is expanding the company’s warehouse — which has yet to even open. The company’s 10,000 square foot warehouse near the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport is in the final permitting stage, with construction being the next step. Shuel expects it to open in the 2023-24 season. 

The new facility will also house Beneva’s production and corporate offices, serving as the company’s official headquarters. The longtime main office for the company has been out of its flagship Beneva Road location, where former owner Art Conforti, who founded the business with his parents in 1986, ran the company for nearly 30 years. Conforti sold the company to Shuel in December 2015 for an undisclosed sum. 

Beyond the warehouse and office, the main goal is growth: Shuel is focused on opening four to five new locations over the next five years and expanding the company’s footprint, both geographically, within the Tampa Bay area, and within the industry. 

With the new focus on three separate entities, he says, “it allows us to attack each market with its independent focus.” 

It also created space to promote team members. Instead of having one leader in charge of all three branches, the company has a leader for each brand. 

“That gives it more focus and allows us to stay accountable for procedures and ongoing growth,” he says. “I think the impact on business will be nothing but positive.” 

 

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