Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the flowers is?? Well, I can assure you, there are flowers in bloom at Blossoms and Keepsakes right now! Walking into the store, I was amazed at all the beautiful and unique inventory displayed on the walls and floors of this lovely shop! Blooming houseplants made me long for springtime, when I like to plant as many colorful flowers around my house and in my yard as I can find sunshine for. House mums, Dieffenbachia, Pothos, Kalanchoe and more graced the front part of the store that Jeri Ryan has called "home" for the past 40 years. Blazers and Infinity scarves, jewelry, candles and statuettes, Wind & Willow cheeseball mixes, dips and desserts line the walls in the next area. The cooler is filled with fresh flowers for any occasion, or for no occasion at all. I mean, who doesn't like fresh flowers on the table, especially after a long winter? Purses and accessories hang amidst the unique gifts in the foyer. And we can't forget the chocolates! Abdallah chocolates and decadent hot cocoa mixes have a space of their own. I do believe there are gifts for everyone here! And you will find this boutique style flower and gift shop at 125 2nd street east in Wanamingo.
One question I like to ask business owners is "How did you decide to open your store?" Jeri laughed and said, "It was my brother's idea!" Ok, I wasn't expecting that. She said that Sherree (Steberg) Van De Walker had opened the shop on Main St., just ½ a block away. Sherree was selling her store, and even though Jeri said she knew nothing about flowers, she listened to Butch, and purchased the store, lock, stock and barrel, as they say.
Jeri went to school in Minneapolis for fashion and merchandising after high school. She managed several stores when she completed her education, and was working at Nina B's in Apache Mall when the flower shop became available. If you have ever managed a retail store, you know how time consuming and hectic it can be, and it was becoming more of a chore than the fun career she had gone to school for, so the timing was right, the opportunity to try something a little different was there, and Jeri had the courage to jump right in and learn something new!
But Jeri didn't give up on her love of fashion. She also has been a Cabi stylist for over 12 years. Cabi is an exclusive designer clothing line with styles for all sizes and ages. She hosts house parties with her clothing displayed so you can look and feel and even try on all the beautiful and quality ensembles in her line. She also does personal consulting in her home, where she carries the full line of the items you will see in her catalog. She says she loves working with her clothing customers, and it fills her love of fashion.
Now back to the flowers! Sometime in early May, you will begin to see flats of flowers to be planted outdoors, and brightly colored hanging baskets lining the greenhouse right outside her shop. Lovely statues to enhance your gardens and whimsical ornaments to hang about the yard catch your eye as you drive past her displays. Since Mother's Day is one of the biggest retail flower sales of the year, weather permitting you will find a host of greenery to put a smile on any mother's face by the beginning of May.
Jeri offers all the traditional services you will find in larger flower shops as well. Weddings, funerals, holidays and special occasions all need flowers, and Jeri offers all these services within a pretty large area, and she delivers! Thinking outside the box, she has participated in Festival of the Trees in Rochester for many years. Festival of the Trees is hosted by Hiawatha Homes for the disabled in our community, and raises money to keep the operation afloat. She does beautiful centerpieces for holiday tables, such as Thanksgiving, Easter and family gatherings. She even helped to decorate the Governor's Mansion in St,. Paul for Christmas one year! She loves to be of service to her community, and welcomes any ideas you may have to spruce up any occasion.
You can chat with Jeri about your ideas, and pick up gifts or a treat for yourself Monday through Friday from 10 to 5, and Saturdays from 9 to noon. Or you can call the shop at (507) 824-2500, or her cell phone at (507) 271-8699. So put your thinking cap on and let Jeri "dress up" your holiday affairs with a beautiful bouquet or centerpiece this holiday season!