WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE? ... One of Palo Alto's oldest florists is shutting its doors. After 19 years in business, Stanford Floral Design at 433 Hamilton Ave. will close on Sept. 30. "I have no choice but to leave. The rent is almost doubling here," owner Werner Rogmans said. Also leaving is Rogman's companion, a 10-year-old white dog named Stanford, who was a constant fixture in the small shop. "Stanford comes out to greet all my customers. He loves them. All of them. And they love him. He will especially miss being here," Rogmans said. Born and educated in Germay, Rogmans takes great pride in the business of flower arranging. "I'm a sixth-generation master florist," said Rogmans, who studied for eight years in his native country to get his horticulture degree. "In Germany, it's a profession. Here people think it's just a job. I am better educated than U.S.-trained horticulturists. There's a real art to flower arranging. For example, you don't put a cactus with an orchid. You just don't," he said. Rogmans has seen the florist industry dramatically change in the past few years. "What makes me upset is that people go through the Internet now to get their flowers. It didn't use to be like that. We only have three florists left in downtown Palo Alto," he said. Rogmans plans to continue his flower business out of his East Palo Alto home. "I have so many longtime customers. They will continue to be my customers even though I no longer have a shop in Palo Alto. I'm not going to disappear," he said.
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