Drivers. Spotters. Crew chiefs. Pit Crew members. These are all jobs that come to mind when one speaks about NASCAR. Certainly, these folks are on the front lines. This Beyond the Track series will introduce you to a handful of the countless people that play a unique role in bringing NASCAR to the track and TV week in and week out.
Meet Jonathan Morrissey, Rich Mar Florist
What started as a passion for sports has now evolved into a multi-year sponsorship program within NASCAR for Rich Mar Florist. Co-owner of the family business, Jonathan Morrissey, shared his unique path to sponsorship that started with tickets gifted from a friend to Pocono Raceway in 2009.
Morrissey shared the idea that sponsoring sports allows your business to appear larger than life. Additionally, he continued, “It allows you to be part of something bigger than you really are.”
From Flower Arrangements to Paint Schemes
Rich Mar Florist has sponsored sports teams in and around their hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania. After attending a race in person, it was a no-brainer for Morrissey’s family to decide to sponsor NASCAR.
Rich Mar Florist was originally on Timmy Hill’s car in 2018. It was a learning experience for Morrissey who was eager for his next opportunity.
That opportunity came in 2019 as they added sponsorship of David Ragan’s No. 38 at Front Row Motorsports.
Later that season, a connection was made with Rick Ware Racing. Rich Mar Florist was afforded an opportunity to be the primary sponsor on Garrett Smithley’s car at the Fall Martinsville race. Morrissey brought his family along to the race and they were given star treatment. Most notably, Smithley brought Morrissey’s daughter along for driver intros.
This was the start of an amazing, on-going relationship that would soon evolve into the digital arena.
Rich Mar goes iRacing
As it went for many, Rich Mar Florist had a plan for 2020. But 2020 brought COVID-19 and put a full-stop to most everything entertainment-wise.
It did not take long for NASCAR to turn their attention to bringing iRacing to the forefront. Nor did it take long for Rich Mar Florist to jump on board a virtual vehicle.
As it turned out, Smithley was looking for a sponsor and reached out to Morrissey prior to the first televised iRace of the season. Both parties were excited to have the pink and black scheme back on track, albeit virtually.
Moments before the green flag, Smithley called Morrissey to inform him he was starting on the pole. Morrissey laughed, remembering, “From there, it was basically all us on the broadcast until Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. passed him at the end. It was great!”
After that iRacing endeavor, a number of unique opportunities arose for Rich Mar Florist. Josh Bilicki came to Morrissey to chat about the Elite Racing League he was involved in with the likes of Tony Kanaan and Ron Capps. Doors opened for Bilicki and Kanaan to run the Rich Mar Florist paint scheme on a virtual IndyCar at Daytona International Speedway where Kanaan finished P2.
Additionally, Morrissey took a chance on sponsoring an iRace in the IceBox Pickup Throwdown series that many NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series drivers participated in during the pandemic.
Looking Ahead & Advice for Potential Sponsors
Morrissey would love to see a Rich Mar Florist paint scheme in victory lane, and that is certainly a goal for 2020. He would love to continue to build success in his brand awareness. Additionally, some exciting opportunities are coming down the pike with his Rick Ware Racing drivers, as well as Spencer Boyd.
However, the sponsor inked a monster deal at the beginning of June. Rich Mar Florist has worked closely with Pocono Raceway in recent years, but more recently, they have also created a partnership with “The Monster Mile” to become the “Preferred Florist of Dover International Speedway.”
Morrissey shared some tips for other smaller business owners looking to sponsor within NASCAR. He shared that to see success, you cannot “set it and forget it,” instead you need to stay active and involved.
That means for his business, getting creative in marketing efforts like creating t-shirts with Boyd, making sure drivers have new hero cards, or jumping on podcasts with Smithley, Bilicki, and Boyd.
However, he feels a lot of the success has come as he has “diversified” his sponsoring. Morrissey has almost taken the “Coca-Cola Family of Drivers” approach while spreading his sponsorship across multiple series and drivers.
In our final moments, Morrissey shared two pieces of information that summed up where he stands with sponsoring within NASCAR.
While he is only in his third year of sponsorship, he has learned a lot. He noted, “I don’t necessarily think it’s the size of the check, I think it’s the amount of effort you’re going to put into it.”
And finally, regarding his relationships with his current team of drivers, he confessed, “I really feel like the group of guys I have are just great guys. They’re great drivers and great with the fans, and they’re willing to stop and sign an autograph. That’s the kind of driver I want wearing my firesuit or having my logo on their car.”
You can find Rich Mar Florist all over the web! Specifically, on Twitter, you can find them at Rich Mar Florist, Rich Mar Florist Racing, and Rich Mar Florist eSports. Give them a follow and let them know you read about them on The Podium Finish!
A huge thank you to Jonathan Morrissey for taking the time to share the behind-the-scenes information on sponsoring in NASCAR.