Spring brings a mix of beauty through color and fragrances that linger from the flowers of the season. Nestled in the business district of Verona, Blossoms of Verona Floral and Gift Shop, the signs of spring last all year. From roses, and carnations, to lilies and daisies, this gift shop offers its customers flowers filling the trends of all seasons.
In the floral business for three years, owner Cathy Horne says her floral designs are a way of self-expression and her way of helping people. “I like to see the joy on people’s faces when they see their arrangements for the first time,” she said.
|SOMETHING FOR ALL OCCASIONS —At Blossoms of Verona Floral and Gift Shop, owner Cathy Horne offers such unique items as a diaper cake.
A designer of silk flower arrangements for more than 20 years, Horne points out that transforming from a hobby to a full-fledged florist came by happenstance. Formerly working in the classified department of a newspaper, she said a lady called to list her floral business for sale. After taking all her information, Horne said the lady offered it to her. Still astonished to this day, she said she dismissed the thought until one day when she was in the Forest Hills area where the shop was located. “I couldn’t find it but while turning to leave there it was. I toured the establishment and later showed my husband and the rest is history,” she said.
Not knowledgeable about flowers or running a business, Horne was trained by the former owner and took classes at Phipps Conservatory. “I had to learn from the bottom up. What customers like, the styles of diverse populations and what type of flowers go with certain types of events. “Working with fresh flowers is a little different than working with silks,” said Horne.
From 2006 until late 2009 Horne operated the business in Forest Hills. Now pleased with her 733 Allegheny River Boulevard Verona location, Horne said she and the business are settling in. “We like it here. The people are welcoming and we are in the position to grow and develop.” Considering herself a full service florist, she said she is equipped to provide flowers and floral arrangements for any type of occasion or event including weddings and bridal showers, proms, parties, funerals and church events. As an added attraction she also offers diaper and towel cakes, something her husband Ron calls unique. The item designed in the shape of a cake consists of diapers or towels are mostly sold for baby showers, he added.
As a way to build the business, one of Horne’s goals is to be the florist of choice of churches to supply pulpit flowers. She also said she is networking and trying to build strong relationships with funeral home owners and undertakers so she can provide floral arrangements for families during their time of bereavement. “We want to provide affordable flowers and items related to the business in all occasions,” said Horne.
A strong believer in entrepreneurship, Horne supports other business owners by providing an outlet for vendors to sell their items in her shop. She carries the Heavenly Creations line of jewelry and greeting cards designed by African-American artists and has plans to sell homemade chocolates. “My dad, a business owner for many years, gave me the entrepreneur spirit,” said Horne, “and my mother instilled a strong work ethic.” She aid her father owned the old Tiger’s Tail Lounge in Garfield and her mom was a nurse at West Penn Hospital for 20 years. Horne graduated from Peabody High School and the ICM School of Business and said she learned from her parents at an early age the significance of hard work and self-sufficiency. Working since the age of 13 she said she always worked in sales or administration, which she felt prepared her for her current venture.
Not alone in the business, Horne said her husband, Rod, who recently retired from a job he had for 11 years, are working hard to make Blossoms a household name. “We want people to know us from the good service we provide and our affordable prices,” he said. “We are a strong Christian family. This shop is a blessing to us and our goal is to be a blessing to others.”
Patrons on any day may be greeted by Rod’s mother, the phone will be answered by their daughter or an order delivered by their son. “Our goal is to work as a family business and to have a legacy that will be one day passed down to our grandchildren,” said Horne.
(Orders can be placed by calling 412-517-8130. Same day service is offered in some situations.)