Aaron Ardle, the owner of Schneider’s Florists, with one of the new tuxedos they sell or rent now. Bill Lackey/Staff

Longtime Springfield florist expands into tuxedo rental business

A Springfield florist will expand its services into the tuxedo rental business and make minor improvements to its building on North Limestone Street.

Schneider’s Florist, 633 N. Limestone St., has continuously operated under the same name for more than 100 years. The business recently began offering tuxedo rentals, in part to offer wider variety of products not offered by online companies.

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Staff also recently renovated a portion of the second floor as a bridal consultation area, and have hired a part-time wedding consultant to help customers plan events, said Aaron Ardle, who is stepping in to take an expanded role in the business from his parents, Bill and Kathy Ardle.

A separate portion of the upstairs is being renovated this week to be used as fitting rooms, Aaron said.

The 3,000-square-foot building originally housed the Leedles Flower Shop in the 1930s. The recent improvements have made more of the decades-old building more accessible to customers, he said.

“It’s exciting to be able to open it up and have more of it open to people,” Aaron Ardle said.

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Schneider’s is partnering with Jim’s Formal Wear to offer tuxedos for rent and for sale.

The business became more involved in planning and providing decorations for formal events in part because the industry is changing, he said. Customers increasingly look online for flowers, so local florists need to find ways to offer better products or services customers can’t find elsewhere, he said.

Few other places in Springfield rent tuxedos, he said.

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In many cases, online florist companies provide a website but the actual orders are still filled by local florists. The rates those firms offer to the local businesses are often far less profitable for the local companies, Aaron Ardle said.

“If you agree to do stuff like that, it’s like death by 1,000 cuts,” he said.

Offering services like wedding planning and tuxedo rentals is one way for the business to provide more value to customers, he said.

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“The everyday side of the business is not as profitable as it used to be,” Aaron Ardle said. “You need to move toward people who need more in-depth service.”

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