On the surface, you see delicate red roses with baby’s breath or fiery lilies exuding life, but flowers represent the many hidden stories within people’s lives.
Tammy French and Michelle Weir are the mother-daughter duo behind Lo’s Florist. French purchased the business in 1999 and Weir has been working with her mother since its opening when she was 15. They know their customers’ likes and dislikes, creating special arrangements for life’s ups and downs.
While they do several weddings each summer weekend – with others sprinkled throughout the year – they also make up last-minute floral arrangements for funerals, honouring those who have passed.
“It’s rewarding,” Weir said, “It’s really nice when you can personalize it. It makes it special.”
French agreed, “You’re basically doing one of the last things ever for that person.”
Weir loves doing out-of-the-box pieces, where a customer gives her an idea of what they’re looking for and she gets to piece it together, bringing the arrangement to life. Flowers are an intimate look into someone’s life and the duo works hard to create something their customers will like.
“Sometimes you have to be a mind-reader because you don’t know when you have to go off their vibes … With flowers, it’s a feeling, right. You just go with what you feel and everything kind of goes together,” Weir said.
Flowers offer something fresh and colourful for people to look at. During the pandemic, weddings and funerals were cancelled, but Lo’s Florist remained busy as people sent flowers to loved ones they could not visit. In addition, the shop noticed people ordering plants for themselves – a hobby and a way to liven up their homes.
“The mental health thing, I think [plants and flowers] really boost people’s morale. And it’s really nice when you go to visit and deliver them and you see their faces light up,” French said.
French bought her business in 1999 after leaving the political world in search of something different. After the original owner of Lo’s Florist passed away, she and her friend Wendy McPhee thought, “let’s go play with flowers because it’s more fun” and purchased the business together. After McPhee was in an accident that left her unable to work, French bought her out and has been running the business with her family ever since.
“It’s kind of like a family business. We have such a big family. We pull from everywhere at holiday time. My mom would come and work and my dad would deliver, and Michelle’s younger sister, Jenni, would come and work, and my son, Allen, would come and work,” French said
French’s granddaughter Hailey comes in to work as well. “[She’s] my number one girl,” French said, while also stating that her daughter Weir is her best friend. The three are all very close and enjoy working together.
The family affair is filled with laughter and long days. While some slow down, gathering together around the holidays, Lo’s Florist gears up for an influx of orders. Like roots and branches interwoven together, the family is interwoven into the community and the daily aspects of their lives.
French laughed, “yes, what happens in the flower shop, stays in the flower shop.” One of her employees, Cecile James, chuckled and agreed, saying that if a married couple buys one another yellow roses as opposed to red (yellow roses meaning friendship and red roses meaning love and desire), you know something is wrong.
It’s evident they love what they do, sacrificing weekends and holidays to bring creative, visual and aroma-filled joy to others. While the gift of flowers may seem a simple exchange, they represent monumental moments in people’s lives.
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BusinessInternational Women's DayWilliams Lake