The day in the life of a florist

Lindsay CravenStaff Writer

February 19, 2013

Editor’s note: the following article is part of a series of articles The Ripple is doing entitled “The Day in the Life of.” The article is written in the first person from the reporter’s perspective.

It’s a cold and rainy day, but inside of Boonville Flower and Décor the scenery is warm, bright and smells like roses.

It’s the day before Valentine’s Day and the staff of this Yadkin County flower shop is tasked with preparing for the most romantic day of the year. Upon arriving we’re met with a stack of order slips detailing all of the arrangements that need to be prepared for pick up and delivery between today and tomorrow.

The owner of Boonville Flower and Décor, Mechelle Crissman, brings me in and puts me right to work stamping flower card envelopes with the name of the business and then addressing the cards with the recipient’s name and where the arrangement is to be delivered.

Once those are finished I move on to filling the Valentine’s vases with water so the Mechelle, Marcie and Roseanna can work seamlessly from one arrangement to the next.

As we work Crissman tells me that the high price of roses at Valentine’s Day is not the local florists gouging the customer as many think but just a reflection of their elevated costs during the holiday.

Crissman says that her costs on premium roses nearly doubles the week before Valentine’s and unfortunately that has to reflect in her prices. Crissman even manages to keep her costs down during the season by enlisting the help of her husband, daughter, brother, sister, mom, dad and brother-in-law to help her prepare arrangements and make deliveries on Valentine’s Day so as not to hire temporary help; making it a true family affair.

Another one of Crissman’s helpers is her mother-in-law and Boonville Flower and Décor founder Eloise Crissman. These days Crissman has stepped down from ownership and just assists with arrangements on busy days and makes deliveries.

“She knows everybody in the county, I think,” Mechelle said. “We just have to tell her who it’s going to and she almost always knows where to deliver it to.”

Eloise is a breast cancer survivor and grandmother but neither has slowed her down. She quickly whisks me away to go out on a delivery with her. While we’re out Eloise shares the history of the flower shop.

The shop’s humble beginnings started in a friend’s basement. Eloise and her friend attended a floral arrangement class at Forsyth Tech where they learned the basic of flower arrangement and how to make a bow. They got started making arrangements and sharing some of them for free with friends and family to get their names out in the community.

It wasn’t long before Eloise was ready to move out of the basement and into a real location and she worked out an arrangement in Boonville paying only $65 a month for a six month lease until she could figure out if the business was going to work. It did, and before long she owned the building and business was booming.

After delivering our arrangement to Huff Funeral Home in East Bend and delivering a special orchid to Eloise’s daughter at East Bend Elementary we were on our way back to help knock out the mound of floral arrangements.

Eloise sets me up a spot next to her and gives me a crash course in how to make a bow from ribbon. Once I’m thoroughly covered in red glitter from the holiday ribbon and have made a satisfactory bow she gives me my next course in arranging a bud vase, or a single rose arrangement.

We work at snipping stems to make the flowers and filler material just the right size, applying a shine spray to the filler material to make it more visually appealing and finally tossing in some baby’s breath and a decorative heart to give it the finishing touches. Despite my slow form and the need for a few tips from the professionals I finish up with an acceptable arrangement and a pat on the back from Eloise.

It’s not long before I’m upgraded to a half dozen arrangement. In between my own arrangements I watch Roseanna and Marcie piece together exquisite arrangements with a dozen or more roses with what seems like no effort.

They piece together lilies, roses, carnations and baby’s breath like a puzzle of petals and as they place a perfectly handcrafted bow you can see why a Valentine’s Day arrangement would bring a sparkle to the eye of the lucky recipient.

As the day comes to an end I help the crew sweep up the slippery remnants of stems and leaves from hundreds of flowers.

Against all odds we have managed to finish nearly all of the orders for the next day and the ladies will get to leave the shop at a reasonable hour that night to rest up for the even bigger day ahead.

I leave with very tired, sore feet and sore fingers pricked by one to many rose thorns and a new appreciation and understanding for why those gorgeous flowers you receive on special occasions are so expensive and how much thought and work go into each special arrangement.

Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at lcraven@civitasmedia.com.