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Flower Power: East Sparks floral business bringing smiles to many in area for 25 years
by Damian Tromerhauser
Oct 04, 2012 | 5196 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Damian Tromerhauser - Marnie Smith, an employee at Amy's Flowers, arranges a bouquet.
Tribune photo by Damian Tromerhauser - Marnie Smith, an employee at Amy's Flowers, arranges a bouquet.
For many people, flowers represent something special. Whether they are given as a sign of love, a particular achievement or a monumental moment in a person’s life, there is something about an arrangement of flowers that can put a smile on anyone’s face. For those around the Sparks area, Amy’s Flowers has been providing that service for the last 25 years.

Open since 1987, the local flower shop has played a large part in many celebrations. From births and deaths and everything in between, Amy’s Flowers has helped mark special occasions throughout the area. As you walk into the small shop on Baring Boulevard, you soon understand why.

With a collection of bouquets on display all over the store, customers can see the value that is placed on the quality of work at Amy’s Flowers. The warm welcome the customer receives at the shop is no less impressive either.

“I think what is unique about us is our quality and our customer service,” said Anna Scarselli-Lawrence, who has owned the shop with her husband Frank Lawrence since 1993. “So many times when we’re out in the world delivering flowers, you’ll see what other places do and you’re always analyzing it to see if it’s up to par of what you think would be up to par. I think quality is a huge, huge thing that people don’t pay enough attention to. We expect our growers and wholesalers to give us really quality items or we don’t accept it. People always tell us that our flowers last. That means we’re doing it right in the process of care and handling, which is a big deal.

“Then there’s the customer service aspect. There are many times we open the doors after hours for a customer looking through the window or calling for some help and waiting for someone to get here. It’s just about going above and beyond. Stuff like making a delivery out of the area that we normally wouldn’t make because they’re a good customer. We try to bend over backwards.”

That commitment from Amy’s Flowers to both its customers and the excellence of the flowers it provides is part of what makes the shop special. Another is the expertise of those at Amy’s Flowers.

“My husband and I are both florists of about 35 years,” Scarselli-Lawrence said. “We worked in local flower shops for several years before deciding to get into the business with our own shop. We have schooling for floristry. Proper care and handling of flowers makes a difference, and people don’t know that if they just decided they wanted to be a florist and work in a flower shop.”

While both owners of Amy’s Flowers have been working in the florist industry since they were in high school, it is knowledge in another field that allowed the shop to stay profitable during the economic downturn with Frank Lawrence having gone to college to become an accountant.

“The recession hit everybody, but I don’t think it hit us as hard as a lot of people,” Scarselli-Lawrence said. “A lot of our customers are contractors and in the construction business, so they were hurting terribly, which in turn put a pinch on us. We have a good business though and it’s well established. It seems like things are picking up now.

“Being that my husband is an accountant as well and knowing what we were doing on the business part of it, we weathered the storm and it seems to be fine now. Flowers are a luxury, but I guess some people look at it as a necessity and it seems to be coming back. Things are getting busier.”

With business picking up and getting back to normal, the family owned and operated shop is again enjoying being able to aid in the commemorations of its customers’ lives.

“I enjoy speaking with people and helping them. It’s almost always a happy occasion,” Scarselli-Lawrence said. “There are obviously the funerals that happen in life, but I think my favorite thing about it is the circle of life I get to be a part of. We have kids coming in to get their prom corsages. Then pretty soon we’re doing their wedding flowers and then they’re having a baby and they’re getting flowers for that from their family and friends. Then mom or dad passes away and we do the funeral flowers for the family.

“We really develop a relationship with our customers. It seems like a lot of our customers have been here as long as we have. We know everything about them, their likes and dislikes and what their families are going through. I think that’s my favorite part. I mean the flower part is great, because it’s always a variety and it’s always beautiful and nothing is ever the same which is neat, but I love working with the customers. It’s been a great business. It’s a beautiful business.”

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