Chicago flower company to customers: condemn racism – or go somewhere else

CHICAGO — A Chicago flower company is asking its customers to take a stance against racism – or take their business somewhere else.

Visitors to the website of Flowers for Dreams are presented with a question in a pop-up: “Do you condemn racism, Nazism, and white nationalism?” If they select “Yes,” the website thanks them “for speaking out against hate,” and suggests they make a donation to groups like the Anti-Defamation League.

If they select “No,” the website says: “Thank you but no thank you. We don’t want your business here.” Clicking “Goodbye” then redirects the user to the home page of the U.S. Holocaust Museum.

If you're unwilling to take sides, we don't want your business.

A post shared by Flowers for Dreams (@flowersfordreams) on

Flowers for Dreams co-founder and CEO Steven Dyme said the move was inspired by the events in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend, when a man drove a car into a crowd of people protesting a white supremacist rally.

“For us it felt like seeing the response on social media that people, especially minority communities, felt vulnerable,” Dyme said.

Dyme said many of the company’s customers and employees are from diverse communities, including “all kinds of races and religions,” and it felt like their shared values were “under attack.” So they came on the idea of implementing a pop-up to show their support for those communities – and their opposition to white supremacist groups.

“Our customers and our team members are the same, they all speak with their money as a way to express their values,” Dyme said. “We see ourselves as being a forceful kind of agent of those values to continue to promote them in the world.”

The pop-up went live on the Flowers for Dreams website Sunday night. And while visitors technically are able to avoid the question by clicking outside of the pop-up, the company made its point clear with posts on social media as well, writing:  “If you’re unwilling to take sides, we don’t want your business.”

“We want to act firmly when others have been more wavering or waffling on it,” Dyme said.

Dyme said the response so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Their posts on social media have been shared hundreds of times. He said he hopes their effort will inspire other businesses to follow suit, and shift the larger conversation away from white supremacist groups.

“We’re not going to let neo-Nazis be the talk of the day,” he said.