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A Blooming Business

This full-service florist offers treasures galore

Lori McNorton always enjoyed being around flowers and realized at a young age what she wanted to do with her life. “My grandmother was big into flower gardens and I’d walk through her gardens, pick the flowers and put them into containers. After high school, I took a floral design course and then went straight into the floral industry.”

After working for others over the years, she opened Blooms on Boswell, a full-service flower shop, in 2019. “I had no intentions of having my own shop, but when I ran into the previous owner and he informed me he was closing, I told my husband Tom that I couldn’t imagine another flower shop in Topeka closing.” (Lori and Tom, who works full time at the post office, are born and bred Topekans.) A month later, they took the leap and bought the shop.

“I've been in the industry for 47 years and had a great following and a big clientele - those connections were already in place,” she said.

One of the biggest changes she’s made, besides changing the name, is turning part of the shop into a gift and home décor outlet. “We have so many fun home decorations, and a little boutique where we sell all kinds of trendy accessories,” she says. “We also have food products including a new candy line.” For spring, they have candles, artwork, artificial flowers, foliage and more. The shop also carries a nice variety of live plants. “I’ve always specialized in wedding work, so we do a lot of that as well,” says Lori.

They are now gearing up again for First Fridays. “A lot of the small businesses stay open later on the first Friday of every month and offer sales and samplings,” says Lori. “It’s a really big thing. People go from place to place to shop and hear live music. We've done a pop-up coffee bar, barbecues, and food tastings.”

Another unique offering is their workshops. “We have an outdoor garden area that we've set up for spring and summer workshops,” she says. “We make centerpieces, bouquets and outdoor planters.” Workshops are held all year round, especially during the holidays. “Thanksgiving is huge for centerpieces, and everybody loves to do Christmas swags and centerpieces too,” says Lori. For Mother's day, they’re planning to do porch pots, and on May Day, they’ll have a small area set up so kids can make little paper baskets.

Blooms on Boswell is Lori’s happy place and she and her staff make sure it’s a happy place for their customers as well. “We want everybody who comes through our doors to feel special.” In addition to a couple of part-time employees, she has one full-time employee, Barb Long. “I couldn't do it without her,” she says. “She’s a designer who’s always willing to help wherever needed.”

Lori calls the flower shop a secret gem in the midst of a residential neighborhood. “We are on the corner of 13th and Boswell, and a lot of people in the last few years have come to realize that there’s a flower shop here,” she says.

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