.The man who revolutionized the floral industry grew up with a bare patch of lawn outside his home occupied not by flowers, but by weeds. How ironic that Jim McCann would, in 1976, go on to take a single flower shop on Manhattan’s East Side and turn it into a billion dollar omni-channel retailer, and one of the world’s leading gourmet food and floral gift providers. Today, as a highly successful entrepreneur, public speaker and published author, Jim’s passion remains the same – to help people connect.
With his heart set on becoming a police officer, Jim attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice, but he ended up working in the social services at a boy’s home in Queens, an experience that would shape the rest of his life. One day, while bartending to supplement his income, a customer walked in and mentioned he was looking to sell his flower shop across the street. Jim started working there in his spare time and, ultimately, decided to buy it. That set in motion the opening of additional shops and what would later become 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.
Jim’s willingness to embrace new technologies that enhanced customer engagement, such as 800 phone numbers and the Internet, often long before other retailers, has consistently kept 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. ahead of the curve and positioned it as a leading innovator in the marketplace. The company was a pioneer in the fast-growing areas of social and mobile commerce as the first company to open an online store on Facebook. More recently, the company has been a leader in testing voice and chat capabilities to enhance the customer experience, launching Gwyn® (Gifts When You Need) powered by IBM Watson, the first-ever online gift concierge. These and other innovations have played a vital role in strengthening consumer engagement, something that has always been a key element of Jim’s business philosophy.
Jim’s strategy for growth has included an effective combination of birthing and acquiring new businesses and brands that resonate with customers for their gifting and celebratory occasions. The company’s gift offerings include such iconic brands as Harry & David®, Wolferman’s®; Cheryl’s® Cookies and The Popcorn Factory®, as well as Simply Chocolate®, Personalization Universe® and 1-800-Baskets.com®, among others.
Jim is also deeply involved in philanthropy and is especially devoted to helping developmentally disabled individuals (Jim has a younger brother who is developmentally disabled). This includes Smile Farms, a non-profit organization he helped found in 2015, which provides meaningful work in agricultural settings to individuals with developmental disabilities. Today, Smile Farms has four locations and employs 70 developmentally disabled adults. These farmers grow flowers, plants and food products to be sold and used in their local communities.
In addition to serving as Chairman of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. he also serves as a director for Amyris, Inc., Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and International Game Technology PLC, as well as a variety of private and not-for-profit boards. Jim is also the Founder and Chairman of Clarim.