The Blossom Shop celebrates 75th anniversary, new downtown building

Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 7:21 pm

Susan Holt, left, Tim Webb, Mike Johnson and Sue Baldus team up in the workroom of the Blossom Shop in Morristown. Following the busiest holiday of the year, Valentine’s Day, the business will expand to include Blossom Shop Too! in downtown Morristown.

Susan Holt, left, Tim Webb, Mike Johnson and Sue Baldus team up in the workroom of the Blossom Shop in Morristown. Following the busiest holiday of the year, Valentine’s Day, the business will expand to include Blossom Shop Too! in downtown Morristown.

Not only are the staff at The Blossom Shop in Morristown preparing for Valentine’s Day, they will soon put the sorting of 12,000 square feet of merchandise on their to-do list.

“We just purchased the Helene Christine’s business,” owner Sue Baldus said on Thursday. “Originally, we were just going to buy the merchandise and move it; but we got to thinking and there’s just no place in Morristown that will hold it all.”

Blossom Shop Too! will open in downtown Morristown, in the TES building, some time after Feb. 14.

“It’s growing downtown,” Baldus said. “We decided to celebrate the 75th year of The Blossom Shop and buy another business.”

Baldus, her husband, Don, and their daughter Susan Holt have owned and operated Blossom Shop for more than 13 years. Their staff includes designer Mike Johnson and Tim Webb, who delivers and designs for the shop.

Johnson specialized in silk designs, while Holt had experience with live flowers.

“We taught each other what we knew,” Johnson said.

Webb has picked up his design skills throughout the years. His talent for working with live flowers contributes to the business’s success with funeral bouquets.

“He does beautiful casket sprays,” Baldus said.

When it comes to the busiest time of the year, Valentine’s Day, the group’s combined sense of humor is definitely an asset. During a recent flurry of activity, one of the designers mistook a trash can for a chair and literally fell in. And yes, his co-workers laughed. In his defense, a co-worker made the switch.

“We helped him get out of it,” Holt said.

All the activity at the shop is not limited to holidays, however.

The Blossom Shop supports many nonprofits in the Lakeway Area by providing flowers for meetings and celebrations, including the Feb. 8 Heart Gala, hosted by Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare Systems/Covenant Health, which requested 40 bouquets. They also play an active role in the Claiborne County Relay for Life and ALPS Adult Day Services.

“We do a Christmas tree every year for ALPS,” Baldus said.

“We believe in giving back to the community, including nursing homes in the region,” Holt said. “Anything we can help with locally, we try. We try to keep prices to where everybody can afford to get something.”

“We have a lot of people come in that have just lost a loved one, and they get the respect they deserve when they walk in that front door,” Baldus said. “We’ve worked really hard to build this business and it continues to grow. I think it’s because we all work hard and we give back to the community. If you don’t give, you don’t get back.”

The team seemed relativity calm on Thursday, with regard to their largest delivery day just one week and a day away.

“You just have to take it as it comes,” Webb said. “There are stressful events, but you deal with it and make the best of it and the next time, you know better.”

The store uses a trendy computer planning program that contains a database of Valentine’s Day orders in the recent past.

“It tells us how many dozens of roses and fresh arrangements we sold,” Baldus said. “So two to three weeks out, Susan, Mike and Tim gather all the information about what to order and what preparation is needed (part-time staff is utilized).

“We’ll make about 75 or 80 fresh cuts up the later part of the week, so we can just go and grab,” Johnson said.

Blossom Shop also utilizes a 20 x 20 square-foot building on the property that has a heating and air system. Staff turns the thermostat to the lowest setting and the building then serves as an additional cooler.

That comes in handy when ordering 2,100 roses, 25 cases of vases and 200 helium balloons. Blossom Shop is offering a free balloon for every order of one dozen roses.

“The most tedious work is loading up the van for deliveries,” Webb said.

“Now that we have the Teleflora POS system, it’s going to map us out,” Holt said. “Tim used to spend hours, mapping all that out.”

According to Webb, 90 percent of the time, the deliveries are made in person which has proven to be the best part of his job over the years. He has made many friends by handing them beautiful arrangements. Good conversation is a given when he shows up at the front door.

“The stress comes after it’s all over, and we need to put the shop back in order,” Baldus said.

This particular Feb. 15 will arrive with the added excitement of Blossom Shop Too!

The workroom at the new downtown location is much larger, and future classes will be held there to accommodate more people. The most popular classes include seasonal wreaths. The classes are conducted by the entire Blossom Shop staff.

The new business is basically a turnkey operation; however, Holt said one major change will be installing a workroom at one of the front windows, so that passersby can watch all three designers working on arrangements.

Watching them work reveals the deftness with which Holt, Johnson and Webb move around the shop, quickly pairing live flowers with decorations to complete arrangements.

“Training by Teleflora is essential,” Holt said. “Their training is the best of the best.”

Scholarships are available through design competitions and Johnson and Holt travel together; Johnson won a training scholarship in 2012 and Holt won it in 2013.

The two were requested by one of their design teachers to work a Knoxville wholesale show in 2013.

Baldus admits to enjoying watching the three designers work. She worked for the Blossom Shop back in 1976, then Trobaugh Florist.

“Victor tells people that he taught me everything I know,” Baldus said. “I would be the one that would go out with him to do landscaping and I enjoyed it tremendously.”

Baldus is also enjoyed a rare circumstance in the business world when she celebrated her birthday on Jan. 24.

“How many people can celebrate 75 years of a business and their 75th birthday at the same time?” she asked.

-By Glenna Howington, Tribune Staff Writer

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