After 25 years in the same location, florist Jane Wolf has weathered competition up and down Main Street and across the Victor Valley. But now her quaint Acacia Country Florist shop in Hesperia is facing a new challenge from telemarketers peddling local flowers from thousands of miles away.


"It's really put a damper on our business," said Wolf about "order takers," who typically advertise their services in phone book ads. "Small mom and pops like us are being pushed out."


According to Wolf, these telemarketing-based companies sell flowers from afar but contract through Teleflora, FTD or other legitimate online floral wire service companies. Then local floral shops, like Acacia, are contracted to create and deliver the final product. But because the system creates a layer of middlemen, customers are charged additional fees of $15 or even more.


And, she says, the quality can get lost in the shuffle. In fact, some distant flower peddlers deliver product in boxes, even to funerals and memorial services. That leaves the funeral director or family member to quickly throw together a makeshift floral arrangement.


Not surprisingly, Wolf, who also has taught floral design at Victor Valley College for the last 20 years, is an advocate of locally-owned flower shops.


"It's not just flowers thrown in a vase. We give personal attention to every item that goes out."


Often when an order comes in from a large wire service, Wolf instructs her designers to add more flowers than the official design instructions call for.


"We always make them look better than the pictures," said Terri Orton, one of Acacia's most experienced designers.


"We make sure it looks good and represents us," Wolf added.


Jane and Chuck Wolf opened Acacia Country Florist on Dec. 1, 1984. She still has a newspaper clipping of the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce grand opening celebration with her holding the couples 2-month-old son, Jason. Today, the infant Wolf is a 25-year engineer who graduated from Cal Poly Pomona. The Wolfs have two other children.


For years, Chuck would drive to the Los Angeles Flower District, load up on the freshest flowers and bring them back to the shop. Eventually, however, he went into insurance and financial planning. Today, he leaves the flowers to his wife and her staff, which collectively has more than 100 years of floral arranging experience.


"As we've grown through the years, we find what our customers in Hesperia need," Wolf said. "I'm extremely customer-conscious."


As a result, Acacia has some customers who have been with them since the beginning.


"We've done their anniversaries and birthdays," she said.


And Wolf creates innovative ways to partner with customers and community organizations such as local schools and the Boys and Girls Club. Acacia's latest partnership is with Odyssey Healthcare, a large hospice service provider. Odyssey is sponsoring "Blooms For A Cure," which will go from March 15-21. All proceeds of yellow daffodils arrangement sales at $9.95 per arrangement will got to Relay For Life, which will take place in April.


"I'm always looking at ways to get people through the front door."


Wolf and her staff believe theirs is much more than just a business. Flowers are simply an integral part of people's lives.


"We all have our hearts in it," Orton said. "It's very important to us."


While Acacia has remained small throughout the last quarter century, it's Hesperia shop continues to to create colorful statements that stay with people's lives.


"We're the best kept little secret in Hesperia," Wolf said.