(ABC4 NEWS – SALT LAKE CITY, UT) Valentine’s Day. Weddings. Mother’s Day. What do they have in common? In this episode of Utah Success Stories, I got to visit with a business that has had the answer for over 100 years.
It’s 1915, Charlie Chaplin new moving picture film called The Tramp is in theatres. In Salt Lake City, Utah, Leon Brown starts a business called Brown Floral. His wife Leona joined her husband in the business in 1926. Over a century later, Tracie Drage explains.
“They were doing floral arrangements, they had very basic flower offers. Not like we have now. It started out as a nursery, so they had bedding plants. People would come from all over. They would purchase their Christmas trees there.” Here is a strange coincidence – I used to live in a neighborhood in Bountiful, Utah called Brown’s Park. My home was surrounded by large pine and fir trees that had been part of Leon and Leona’s Christmas tree growing area. Small world.
Brown Floral’s history includes providing flowers for generations of Valentine’s Days, Mother’s Days, Memorial Days and weddings.
I asked Tracie what some of the trends are for Utah weddings. She told me; “A lot of brides in Utah like the real wildflower look, just like I’ve stepped into a meadow and gathered some flowers, which isn’t as easy as it sounds.”
It was interesting to see various photos of work that Brown Floral has done. I noticed a number of very personalized sympathy floral arrangement. What do sympathy flowers mean to Tracie? “Now we are getting to what I feel is the most meaningful part of our business. They want to send something to say we are here with you right now. We are walking with you through this, we are mourning with
you. And it’s important, it’s really important that we connect with each other in this way” she said.
I was very impressed by a picture of a wreath with running shoes in it. She told me that a woman had died of cancer. Her fellow runners all provided shoes to celebrate a big part of her life. Talk about personalized.
What’s Tracie’s favorite flower? She replied; “Sometimes I say it’s this and sometimes I change it to that. And you can do that when you work in a flower shop. You can change your mind every week if you want.”
Tracie introduced me to her daughter, Abbie Drage, who was ready to help me make a floral arrangement.
I produce the garden segments for Good Things Utah and love to create containers with the theme of “thrillers, spillers and fillers.” Abbie explained the difference for floral arrangements. “We like to build them in different planes. So, the way I was taught is Heavens, sky and earth.” Abbie had already picked out some great plant and flower material and created a greenery base. I asked her for advice and she said with a smile; “You’ve got to go with the flow of the flowers.” It was a blast to create a floral arrangement at Brown Floral. Abbie even provided some of my favorite flowers, Peonies.
Getting and giving flowers provides a human connection. What’s the best reason to give flowers? Tracie put it best when she replied; “The best reason is just because. Just because I’m thinking of you. Just because you are an amazing human being. Just because I’m grateful in my life. Those are the reasons you should send flowers.”
With another Utah Success Story, I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News. Utah Success Stories is made possible by the generous support of Finance Peak, the ticket to your finance needs.