Florist promises to return money after abruptly closing

WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The co-owner of The Plaid Petunia is promising to return the money brides gave the floral shop before it abruptly shut its doors.

Sean Tober told News 4 he is deeply and sincerely sorry for everybody involved in this, which the Buffalo Bridal Association estimates is between 30 to 40 brides-to-be. That equates to thousands of dollars in orders for wedding flowers.

Kara Bystrzak said, “I was really excited. I thought it was awesome that it took the guesswork out of having to find a florist.”

Bystrzak is just one of many who will have to find another florist for her August wedding, now that The Plaid Petunia is out of business. Tober closed the flower shop Monday as a number of brides-to-be learned the orders they had placed at the West Seneca store were not going to get filled.

Katie DiLeo placed an order for $287 that is falling by the wayside and was lured by an associate at the store into hiring a photographer for $700, for her September wedding. She says that is not likely going to happen, either.

“The $700 was for the photographer, who had never heard of me. He never agreed to anything,” DiLeo said.

Bystrzak’s order of $429 was supposed to cover her bouquet, and all the other flowers.

“Our bridesmaids’ bouquets, the corsages, the boutonnieres, centerpiece flowers, the flowergirl, the hair comb piece. It was pretty much all the flowers for my whole ceremony,” she said.

While neither woman is letting Tober off the hook, they say he wasn’t making the offers or taking their money. The man responsible is an associate they identify as Russell Pannell.

While Tober is taking some responsibility, Pannell has been unavailable.

Bystrzaka got the heartbreaking news after several attempts to call the store.

“Just a few minutes after the store was supposed to open, I called again, and I got a different voicemail that said, the flower shop was closed, that if I had any dealings with Russell Pannell, he was not affiliated with The Plaid Petunia,” she said.

We have tried unsuccessfully to reach the person known as Russell Pannell.

DiLeo has filed a report with West Seneca Police.

If you placed an order with The Plaid Petunia, contact the New York Attorney General through the consumer hotline at 853-8404. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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