EMMA ROUTLEY/THE CHRONICLE
The Flower Basket in Cottage Grove is fully stocked, with more outside its front door.
COTTAGE GROVE – Mother’s Day is the busiest week of the year for area florists, and despite the trials and tribulations of the pandemic, plans in local shops are in full-bloom.
Last year, COVID-19 restrictions shut down the shop through Mother’s Day. A potentially devastating blow for a small locally-owned business on its busiest week of the year, Carol Reeves, who owns The Flower Basket & Gift Boutique, said that her business did not shudder. Instead, it persevered, for which she credits ongoing community support.
“It’s been a big, steady rebound since we reopened. We’ve been very busy and people have been so supportive. I think (the pandemic) made people realize that supporting small businesses and shopping locally is really important,” Reeves said.
Reeves has over three decades experience in building a community connection in Cottage Grove and Creswell. A Lorane native, Reeves got started in floristry in the early ’80s at the former Cottage Grove Florist as a delivery person. From there, “the designer turned me loose on design and said ‘let’s see what you can do.”
Given the opportunity, Reeves flexed her skills – and kept flexing.
EMMA ROUTLEY/THE CHRONICLE The Flower Basket & Gift Boutique storefront.
In 1984, Reeves opened her own shop, The Flower Basket, later tacking on the “Gift & Boutique” part to make the name all-encompassing. “The business is my baby,” she said, and especially enjoys interacting with customers-turned-friends.
“You start off with people graduating high school and doing their proms, and then getting married and doing their weddings, to them having kids … you become much more than just a florist in that respect; you become friends, and a part of their special occasions,” Reeves said.
Patti Guerra, of Cottage Grove, one two occasions has requested flower arrangements be sent to her mother. She told a staff member the color preference, the price range and asked staff to pick the arrangements.
“They made beautiful choices and it was delivered quickly. I didn’t have to worry if they were going to look good or not. They always turned out really nice and my mom loved them both times,” Guerra said.
Jen Hayes, Cottage Grove resident, in March called on The Flower Basket to help make her daughter’s third birthday special. Scrambling for a fun and practical way to celebrate in a pandemic, she called the shop and asked Reeves if she could turn around a last-minute surprise.
“Carol created a small bouquet in a basket, balloons and a stuffed animal that was scented with lavender and could be warmed up for snuggles. She created all of this in a matter of just a couple of hours and delivered it to our doorstep,” Hayes said.
For Reeves, support is reciprocal.
“I’m a firm believer that you need to support those who support you,” she said.
Other aspects of floristry have been shaken by the pandemic. While Reeves primarily works with wholesale distributors in Eugene, Salem and Portland, she said that smaller flower farms have since gone out of business.
“Last year during this time, you would see pictures of people bulldozing piles and piles of flowers into a compost. It was awful to see,” Reeves said, noting that it has caused a shift in the floral industry.
Back in March, Reeves began ordering lasting flowers, including tulips, carnations, roses and lilies.
“One thing I would caution people is that this year, flowers just aren’t quite as available as they normally are, so ordering early is more important than ever,” Reeves said.
The Flower Basket is offering 15-20 in-store Mother’s Day specials next week. Bouquets can be purchased over the phone, online, in-store and can be delivered throughout Cottage Grove and Creswell.
The store will be open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and is closed on Mother’s Day.