RACINE – Shea Leech, owner of the Flower Company of Racine, has always had a knack for this.
“At least that’s what they say,” she said.
In the past, Leech worked for Stein’s, upholstered furniture and even owned his own bed and breakfast; she used her eye to scan many different outlets.
After a decade of experimenting with delicate bouquets for her B&B and, for almost a year, working as a florist for another company, Leech opened her own flower shop.
The Compagnie des Fleurs de Racine, located at 2049 avenue Taylor, opened at the end of April. The boutique offers original arrangements designed by Leech and predefined arrangements by FTD, a flower wire service.
A long time to come
The opening of the flower shop was a long one for Leech. She and her late husband owned Lochnaiar Inn at 1121 Lake Avenue from 2003-2008. When Rick became ill, they closed the B&B.
In 2015, Leech noticed that the B&B was still for sale and made the decision to buy it again and operate it until the pandemic shuts it down.
“It’s fine, but I’m getting older,” Leech said. “Going up and down four flights of stairs every day and making beds is a way of life. You are there 24/7.
In contrast, the florist is a place where Leech can find peace. Every day his dogs will have fun, his six children will visit him and their grandchildren will even help him organize bouquets.
“I come in, I turn on the music, I do my thing. And I go home. And I don’t have to respond to anyone other than myself, ”said Leech.
Leech always knew she wanted to have her own store. As a young mother with young children, she was curious to open a children’s clothing store. While she hasn’t exactly taken this route, Leech still has ambition.
“My daughter likes to paint furniture and we are thinking of transporting it, enlarging it,” she said.
In fact, the sofas at the front of the store look unique as they were upholstered by Leech and his daughter. “It’s a huge network that I spread, but I would say interior design and floral design is kind of my niche,” Leech said.
Support from family, friends
Leech was working for another local florist when her son-in-law, Mark Jraisat, encouraged her to open her own store. The two searched for the perfect location until they found the storefront on Taylor Avenue.
One glance out the window and Leech knew it was perfect for her. Leech joins other new businesses on Taylor Avenue including Belle City Boardshop, the second branch of the Main Project Cafe and Ramen Racine.
Leech said her particular area of Taylor Avenue had been dezoned as a new economic development corridor: “They’re watching the businesses that come in here, which I think will be huge as well,” she said. .
The Flower Company was scheduled to open in early April in time for Mother’s Day, but Jraisat passed away during the scheduled opening week. Instead, Leech opened later this month.
Leech is surrounded by an abundance of support from her family and friends. Her children band together to deliver flowers to Racine and Kenosha counties and even help with the bookkeeping. Her best friend Sandy Johnson and Sandy’s mother Esther Heffel encouraged her to start her own business.
“Everyone is participating,” said Leech. For example, on Mother’s Day, she set a goal of completing 100 orders, but completed 300 with the help of her family.
Leech also thanked one of his employees, Mark Trinklein, owner of Golden Age Farm in Racine and who framed her in floral design.
A personal touch
Leech does local and global orders, even making Californians regular customers: “I have a daughter in California who ordered me five, six times. I’ve never met her in person, ”she said.
Tammy Garza was a new customer when she walked into the florist on Friday, but she knew Leech. “She went to high school with my fiance. We had been to his bed and breakfast, and it was beautiful, ”Garza said.
Garza has ordered a few bouquets from Leech and even let her cut a sample of a pink ribbon she plans to use for her wedding. She mentioned that she was planning to go to the farmer’s market and find a bouquet there, but changed her mind when her fiance mentioned Leech’s shop.
Garza said she ultimately preferred to meet with a florist for a proper consultation. “You can see how skilled they are when you walk into their store. With this place I was able to see (Leech’s) artistic ability, ”she said.
The Compagnie des Fleurs de Racine is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. It is closed on Sundays.