Coming up roses [UPDATED]Published 9:20am Tuesday, December 10, 2013 Updated 11:31am Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Teresa Johnson went to Brainerd Vocational School in the 1980s and graduated from the floral design program. She worked at a shop in Pelican Rapids as an intern while in school and also graduated with a degree in business management from Brainerd Community College.
After graduating, she took a job managing a floral shop in a Moorhead mall and worked there for four months.
She left that job and did not work in the floral industry for more than 20 years.
Suddenly, beginning last year, the itch came back.
“I just heard from many people that there is a need,” Johnson said. “I thought maybe that was my sign that I should think about it.”
Johnson found a space for sale and bought it in May. After months of renovations and repairs, Johnson opened Petals From The Heart on Nov. 18. It’s been a long time coming.
For the past 12 years, Johnson has been running Paydac Plastics Inc. in Elizabeth with her husband.
She has managed the books for the company and said she never really expected to get back in the floral business.
But her husband has been supportive of Johnson’s decision. This is purely her venture; she has only one full-time employee, Brittany Walters, and makes all the decisions herself.
The need for a shop in Pelican Rapids came about last year, after Pelican Floral closed its doors. Johnson had worked for Pelican Floral owner Sonja Pearson during those summers while in vocational school. Pearson died earlier this year.
Business has been moving along slowly so far, but the pace has suited Johnson just fine.
“I’d rather have it a little slow to start than have a big boom and you can’t handle it,” she said.
The shop has been relying on word-of-mouth advertising at this early stage. Walters said the shop has sold some flowers for a few funerals, but most of the customers have been walk-ins.
Along with flowers and plants, Petals From The Heart also sells small gifts, many of which are made in the state.
“We don’t want something that other shops downtown have,” Walters said. “We’re already competing enough with other shops. We don’t need to carry the same things.”
Having these few months to get their feet under them before the Valentine’s Day rush should prove beneficial, according to Johnson. Although she had hoped to open a bit sooner this year, she is happy with the way things came together.
For now, Johnson and Walters are focusing on the holiday season. They have a deal on poinsettias and anticipate a healthy number of purchases on decorative bouquets and plants over the next few weeks.