When you walk into Flowers With Flair at 280 1/2 Bruce Street, you are immediately welcomed with the pleasant scent of many different types of flowers and the smiles of its friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff.
Suzanne Wilson, who has co-owned the shop with her husband Steve since 1996, has been a florist for 41 years.
Born and raised in the Sault, Suzanne said “it was my grandmother who got me involved in flowers because she always had a garden.”
Professionally trained as a florist at Seneca College, Suzanne worked for other local florists, including Flowers With Flair’s previous owners before purchasing the business for herself (the business started up in 1975).
The business is expanding, Suzanne now leasing what she calls ‘the blue building’ immediately next door to the main shop.
“That’s our plant room. It’s like a tropical forest when you walk in. It stores our artificial things, it’s our work building, almost like a warehouse, and we needed it for parking,” Suzanne said.
“I always went into the bush and picked flowers and plants, so we do a lot of ‘woodsy, outdoorsy’ arrangements. I use the way things grow outdoors, in nature, when I’m putting arrangements together in the store. It’s always been my passion,” Suzanne said.
“I studied fine arts, then I got into horticulture…it’s been plants and flowers ever since. I really wanted to be here. I like working for a small business and Suzanne’s a fantastic mentor and teacher. I kept coming in until they hired me,” beamed Riley Greco, floral designer, as the staff accepted a pair of complimentary SooToday coffee mugs.
The store is a beehive of activity, with four full-time employees and one part-time employee picking flowers out of the shop’s fridge, making floral arrangements, filling orders for customers and providing gardening advice over the phone, their faces aglow and clearly enjoying what they do.
Also present in the shop are Lucy, a Golden Retriever, and Rocket, a male black cat, which the staff humorously refer to as ‘plant groupies.’
Mother’s Day is the busiest time of year for Flowers With Flair, Suzanne said, but flowers, of course, are in demand for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and, at this time of year, proms.
Plants have become a big hit with millennials (people born between 1980 and the early 2000s), Suzanne said.
“I’ve never had so many people walking in and out of our store. Millennials love plants (millennials tending to be more aware of all things ‘green’ than previous generations).”
Little ones love Flowers With Flair as well.
“We have ‘regulars’ who are three or four, 10 years old…they’re very curious to learn about plants and flowers,” Riley said.
Flowers With Flair also has flower and plant watering contracts with businesses such as OLG and Great Lakes Power.
Suzanne and her staff love to spread flower petals on the sidewalk immediately in front of the store’s front door.
“We have so many people stop by. They come right into the store and say ‘thank you for doing that because it makes my day.’ That makes me feel good. One day we let the mail lady do it, because she said ‘you know, I’d really love to throw petals if you don’t mind’ so we let her do it,” Suzanne said.
“We load up a big bin with petals and just spread them on the sidewalk. People enjoy it, it’s just amazing.”
“It’s like walking on a red carpet. They (the petals) stand out really well in the winter when it’s all white out there. This is a fun place,” Riley smiled.
Flowers With Flair (which also delivers) can be found on Facebook, Instagram and online