BARRY’S BAY – In between trimming roses and arranging bouquets in anticipation of the Valentine’s Day rush, owner of Church Street Flowers Pam McNichol reflected on the past year.
It was exactly two days before Valentine’s Day 2019 that McNichol opened the flower shop in Barry’s Bay. It’s the second store for the certified florist, who opened up Church Street Flowers in Pembroke three years ago.
Daughter of Bob Marquardt of Combermere, McNichol grew up in southwestern Ontario and managed a chain of grocery stores. It was there that she developed her love of flowers. As one of the requirements as manager, she was trained as a florist. She attended classes every Saturday for eight months for the certification.
Living in Killaloe, Hagarty, Richards Township with her husband David, she decided to open up a flower store in Pembroke on 205 Church Street.
“Pembroke just seemed like the right place at the time to open a business,” she said. “Last year and a half ago, we just wanted to bring our services to Barry’s Bay, back home and provide good quality service to the community. This is where we are hoping to retire and this is where we want to end up.”
They settled on a location at 19512 Opeongo Line and not only offered flowers, but a gift shop complete with local artwork.
As for the flower shop, McNichol finds sympathy arrangements to be one of the most popular services.
“Every day we gain a new customer because we provide really good service. We will foster that relationship,” she said.
If that means a client lives out of town and ordered an arrangement for someone special, McNichol herself will take a photo and send it to them before it’s delivered.
And while the year had its fair share of ups and downs, McNichol said Church Street Flowers will continue to build on its ability to provide good customer service.
“We don’t want a one-time customer, we want a lifetime customer,” she explained.
There are three part time staff at the Barry’s Bay location, and each one is a certified florist.
“We are always upgrading with floral design courses with modules,” McNichol explained.
This year, staff will take courses on bridal and sympathy arrangements.
“We want to stay current in our design,” she said. “It’s important.”
The most popular flower at the shop is the humble carnation, McNichol said.
“It’s much like the community; it really is a metaphor, because carnations will last a month,” she said. “They are economical, they are affordable and the value is there. This is a community of hardworking people that need their flowers to last. And they need the value in it because it is a luxury for them to spend the money and we really respect that.”
For more information, or to place your order before Valentine’s Day, visit https://www.barrysbayflowers.ca/