When you first enter Buds N Blooms Florist on main street Bonnyville you’re greeted with a painted bridge, you hesitate not sure if you should walk on the beautiful arch, gaze through the store and lock eyes with owner Jeralyn Wells, whose smile assures you it’s okay to proceed. Jeralyn says almost every customers does the same hesitation dance, with a huge smile, as if it’s an ongoing store joke. She’s owned Buds N Blooms since 2008, and has been adding to the store and showcasing the merchandise in unique and creative ways since. Customers can sense her playful humour from the first moment you see that beautiful, turquoise, bridge. When Jeralyn took over the shop from Cheryl Cherniak, creating a magical atmosphere was one of the reasons she loved the store enough to buy it when Cheryl retired.
Jeralyn worked off-and-on for three years at Buds N Blooms before taking over ownership in 2008. Jeralyn says the previous owner was ready to retire and spend more time with her grandbabies, “she was either going to close it or sell it,” and that lead to Cheryl encouraging Jeralyn to take over. “She said, ‘Jeralyn you should buy it’, and my kids were really little at the time, Talia was only two and well… Corbin wasn’t thought of.” Despite the typical fear that comes with taking the leap into owning a business, Jeralyn says the store was sound and it just made sense, “I thought, ‘why not’, it’s an established business, that has an established clientele.” Jeralyn says she wouldn’t have been satisfied just to take the keys and keep it the same, “you have to make it your own.”
Jeralyn is a true Lakelander, she’s lived within 50 kilometres of Bonnyville her whole life, something she’s quite proud to state (as she should be). Jeralyn grew up in the small town of Iron River, just Northwest of Bonnyville on Highway 55 and attended high school in Bonnyville. She worked in Cold Lake for few years, and lived on Elizabeth Settlement for ten years, before purchasing an acreage south of Bonnyville a year ago with her husband, Clayton. Clayton and Jeralyn have two children. Talia (9) and Corbin (6) both attend Duclos Elementary School, where they are proud Critters. “I’m a hometown kinda girl,” Jeralyn says with a smile.
One of the reasons Buds N Blooms excels is exclusivity, there are certain lines that only they carry, explains Jeralyn, “in this kind of business, and in our town, you try really hard to keep a few lines exclusive to you. So customers know you have them and they come back to you for them.” One of those lines is American Paint Company, which is a brand of chalk paint that can cover any surface, without stripping the previous paint beforehand. It is perfect for the DIY Shabby Chic trend that is very hot right now. In fact, the previously mentioned bridge was painted a very en vogue shade of turquoise with this brand of paint.
The paint is so popular that the store has started offering Chalk Paint 101 classes, Jeralyn says the classes, “have been phenomenal!” The paint is safe for anyone, the line is fully organic. “You can paint anything,” Jeralyn says painting can be the most economically feasible way to revamp your home, “with people not being able to spend a lot of cash on new furniture, you just re-love what you have and make it look completely different.” One really fabulous decorating trend right now is mix-matched pieces, Jeralyn describes, “you take six mix-matched pieces and paint them all the same to bring your room all back together and make it look amazing.” The paint is very versatile, “you can make it look antiquie or very sleek and clean. You can paint absolutely anything; wood, glass, veneer, fabric, metal… anything. You name it, doesn’t matter.”
Jeralyn knows her stuff, she attends design shows in Edmonton to make sure she’s always up with the latest home decor fashions. Chalk Paint 101 classes will be back into full swing within a month or two, confirms Jeralyn. The classes are perfect for a group of friends, looking for a fun night-out or individuals wanting to improve their DIY skills. The class is two-hours and approximately $80. Includes 10% off American Paint products, forever, and various discounts on store products. Each student receives a sample pot with your choice of paint and finishing products.
Other exclusive lines to Buds N Blooms include; home fragrance lines Green Leaf and Lampe Berger, Gund Teddy Bears, Tea Forte gourmet tea leafs and accessories, Fruit & Passions, and Willow Tree Angels. The same distributors who provide Buds N Blooms with American Paint, also supply the store with decorative knobs.
“You can change the look of anything. A dresser, your kitchen cabinets, bathrooms, a vanity,” all at a very economical price point, Jeralyn explains the benefit of changing out some knobs and adding a coat or two of paint. She’s more than happy to share tips with her customers.
Even with the exclusive lines and store-filled with home decor, Buds N Blooms is all about the flowers. “Bread and butter is still flowers,” confirms Jeralyn, “everybody’s still getting married, and having babies. Birthdays, anniversaries, and funerals. There’s always something.” Buds N Blooms specializes in fresh flowers and arrangements. “There’s always someone screwing up,” Jeralyn says with a playful laugh, “there’s always some sorta flower business, it’s what we specialize in, everyday.”
Jeralyn loves flowers because they showcase each individuals personal style, “classic is always big, roses. But we’ve seen a lot of Gerber daisies, babies breath, and sunflowers lately.” The biggest craze, which Jeralyn doesn’t see ending anytime soon, is the country-rustic-chic. “Lots of the weddings we’ve seen [lately] are creamy white, natural elements, willow and grasses, eucalyptus… All really natural.” Perfect for Bonnyville, and The Lakeland area in general.
Buds N Blooms can create one-of-a-kind unique baskets tailored to anyone’s tastes. These are huge for Thanksgiving and Christmas season, where dinner parties are a plenty and gifts are abundant. With just a few descriptors, Jeralyn and her staff can design a basket or arrangement that’ll surely impress. They can also use their creativity to come up with something from a simple phone call and price point. There’s something for any budget, any style, and any occasion. If you have a function, Buds N Blooms is there for you, “we do corporate parties, birthdays, Christmas parties, anniversaries, weddings,” it’s truly unlimited, says Jeralyn. “We want to make something that you really love, or the recipient is really going to love.”
Customers are always surprised to learn the level of customization, “it doesn’t have to come from the cooler, nothing here comes out of a box, when it comes to fresh flowers.” A florist is different from your grocery or drug store flower bins, “I think a lot of people are surprised at how long flowers from our shop will last.” Jeralyn explains the process has a lot more to it than you would think, “we deal with every product by hand. The flowers come to us dry-packed, they’re not in water, they’re not drinking and aging yet.” Once at the store, the flowers are cut and hydrated, “brought to life,” as Jeralyn describes it, then they are put in the cooler or delivered to the customer depending on the order.
Buds N Blooms has started carrying fresh house plants and extremely in fashion, soil-less plants. Soil-less plants are perfect for hanging clear vases or decorative shelf arrangements, which you can see throughout the store. The arrangements are a collaborative effort between Jeralyn and her fabulous staff. “I don’t do this by myself, I have a fantastic team of girls that have been with me for a long time and are amazing at what they do,” you can hear the pride in her voice when Jeralyn speaks of her staff, “I know a lot of people call and want to talk to the boss, but they’re just as creative and amazing at their jobs. I wouldn’t be able to have this business, and have little kids, if I didn’t have fantastic staff to help me along the way. I can trust that they are going to do the job and come up with stuff that I am proud to put my name on.”
The staff at Buds N Blooms include; Rebecca Kowalski, whom has been with the store for five years, since she was 16. “She’s my right arm, she’s my clone, when it comes to design. Some days I think she out-designs me,” Jeralyn gushes, “she does an amazing job.” Corina Kowalchuk is described as Jeralyn as, “fantastic. She specializes in merchandising, she can move things around and make it look fresh and new. She incredible.” Part-time staff is essential to maintain a seamless flow of business at Buds N Blooms, Jeralyn says she has a few part-time staffers. A lot of mommies who work around their kids’ schedules and fill in spots during the busy seasons; such as Christmas.
Buds N Blooms will be hosting their Annual Christmas Open House, the Thursday after Remembrance Day every year. The entire store is on sale for the event, Jeralyn assures, “we have a huge to-do. Snacks, discounts across the store, samples, and door prizes. It’s a big kick-off to the Christmas season.”
For more information on Chalk Paint 101 Classes, The Christmas Open House, to order flowers or more visit Buds N Blooms Florist on main street Bonnyville, online at bonnyvilleflorists.com and like Buds N Blooms on Facebook. Time saving tip- once your information is given to Buds N Blooms they are able to safely store it through their computer system, which makes ordering a breeze for next tip