Back to the Shire: Tips of Business Growth

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When I bought my flower shop like about 20 years ago, it was just your basic average shell of the building. Not very interesting and overall, pretty simple.
It was a stand-alone building, which I liked, surrounded by a retail complex, which I also liked. I didn’t want to be in a location off the beaten track, which no one would ever find, and with no other surrounding businesses, which would draw even less traffic.

So despite the general boringness of the building, I could envision something else for it, and over the years, I have improved it and made it look so much better.
I’ve always loved old stone buildings like you see in photos of England and Wales. Not so much the castles as the stone cottages that are set out in the middle of green fields, bounded by low stone fences.

So I have let that image be my inspiration and have kind of gone after that look for my flower shop, Old Granada Hills.
When Lord of the Rings came out about 10 years ago I fell in love with the look that they created for the Shire. Loved the stonework and the round green door of the hobbit houses and the way the whole community looked with the round doors and the homes set into the hills.

I made some changes to my flower shop to sort of replicate that look and the English stone cottage image. Believe it or not, I actually changed my door and created a round green one. (I LOVE the comments customers make when they walk through it! Especially Lord of the Rings fans.)
I covered the front of the shop with stone and inside the shop the columns are sheathed in stone. I also put in giant wooden beams across the ceiling. They are so extremely cool.

I hang dried flowers from the beams, and baskets and stuff.¬† I also have strands of moss and small branches in decorative arrangements. I even have things like long smoking pipes–like the ones the hobbits smoked Longbottom Leaf from. No ham legs, though. I drew the line at that. lol
I have a couple of giant oak casks that look like wine barrels. I use them as bases to display big arrangements on.

I really love the look that I’ve created inside my shop.

I display all of the individual flowers according to color family. So instead of walking in and seeing a whole mix of color in the shop, my customers walk in and see flowers grouped according to color families.
I didn’t use to display the flowers that way, but I got the idea from another flower shop that I visited once and it was really striking. I love how that has turned out and my clients Aall seem to really like it as well.
Outside the shop, I’ve put stone on the walls from the ground to half way up. The top half of the walls I’ve had painted to replicate the half-timbered construction of old England and Europe. I’ve got ivy growing on some of the walls, oak casks¬† with baskets of colorful flowers standing on either side of the round green door, and an old wooden wheelbarrow full of clay pots near one of the casks.
It’s come a long way, baby, since the days of Boring City!

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