IN ONE FELL swoop, Covid turned lives and livelihoods upside-down. For some, the downtime meant exploring new hobbies, and for others, it meant pivoting entire business ideas to suit the new normal. For Chelsea Wrobel, it meant both.
“The pandemic hit right as Freedom Floral launched,” she recalls, referencing her Spring Branch-area flower and gift shop, which was originally dreamed up as a workshop and events space. “With [my husband] Kevin working from home, we had more flexibility and pivoted to retail flower deliveries.”
As people became more comfortable going out again, the brick-and-mortar space turned into a go-to for area residents to find artful bouquets and meaningful trinkets — and Freedom Floral isn’t the only throwback-style, female-owned flower shop that’s putting down roots.
Cute goodies at Pepperlou
Museum District-area Fiori is a restaurant with an attached floral boutique, and in Rice Village, the ’70s-savvy Isidora Flower & Gift Shop offers subscriptions and deliveries. Back outside the Loop, new Iris Gifts in Memorial has pop-up events featuring fresh florals, and nearby, Pepperlou Gifts has a similar setup, and is getting ready to expand to a giant new space a few doors down.
Perhaps the reason for all the fun new shops is that life’s simple pleasures — like fresh flowers — were revealed by the pandemic, but are only just starting to bloom.
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