New shop at 19 N. Monroe Street in cute yellow building
Stephanie Heaton is excited to be back doing what she considers her life’s calling. The custom floral designer earned a living as a dental hygienist, but missed the floral business she sold in Lowell. Here in Rockford, she has opened her doors this week at 19 N. Monroe St., home of Flower Garden Floral.
“I have a passion for decorating,” said Stephanie, who, with business partner Jeff Barger, has been preparing the 1,300-square-foot space adjacent to Grand Dental.
The cheerful yellow building now boasts a custom-made cooler for fresh, live flowers. The cooler is the work of Jeff, who has been in the construction business.
“Construction work has been slow,” Jeff said. He and Stephanie have created their own employment—she working on the design and arrangements, and he is the “behind the scenes” with the bookkeeping end of the business. They also employ Sonja Baldwin, one of Stephanie’s childhood friends.
“It was like it was meant to be,” Jeff said of Sonja and Stephanie running into each other recently. “They had lost touch with each other and hadn’t seen each other for years.”
As plans for Flower Garden Floral were coming together and it was time to look for a delivery person, Sonja and Stephanie ran into each other. It turned out Sonja was looking for a job.
“We always play Christian music in the shop. That’s just who we are,” said Stephanie, when asked what is unique about Flower Garden Floral.
She said she also offers alternatives to traditional floral displays, such as candy bouquets and gift baskets. The shop also offers plaques and decorator items with Christian quotes. In addition to real and silk floral arrangements, Flower Garden has a variety of home décor items.
What is most distinctive about Flower Garden, Stephanie believes, is her unique style of floral arrangements. She loves the work because it allows her to offer a service that helps people. She and Jeff chose Rockford as a location for their business because they believe it is a community that is growing and has so much going on. “There is so much going on here all the time,” she said.
“I feel we are here to make new friends, give them quality service and make them feel happy and secure knowing we will take care of their floral needs,” Stephanie said. “I have over ten years experience. Designing is my passion.”
Stephanie shared that a popular flower now is the Gerbera daisy, bright and cheerful relatives of the familiar white daisy. The large, showy flower, she said, is favored by young people now.
Another tip she offered is to cut the stems of your vase flowers on an angle. “If you don’t have any plant food, put a little sugar in the water. That’s all the plant food is.”
Flower Garden Floral opened for business Monday, Oct. 4 and is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. The phone number is (616) 866-8100 and e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We found a way to create our own jobs and also to employ someone else. We are pretty excited about that,” said Stephanie.
As a grand opening celebration, every visitor the first week will be given a free daisy through Friday, October 8. Stop in soon and welcome Stephanie, Jeff and Sonja to Rockford.