Flowers are Lyn Condetta's passion.
She learned the art of flower arranging from her mother, a music teacher who filled their California home with fresh flowers and music — touches of beauty in a house with six children.
Now, after a long career as a Montessori teacher and a number of years working for a florist, Condetta has realized her dream of owning a flower shop.
Belleair Flowers, a full-service florist co-owned by Condetta of Largo and her sister, Carrie Reynolds-Flatt of Belleair Beach, opened Nov. 1 at 1890 West Bay Drive in Largo.
Condetta and her husband, Jack, and Reynolds-Flatt and her husband, Jay, are all retired, but the sisters were bitten by the entrepreneurial bug when they spotted a vacant storefront in the West Bay strip center.
They checked it out before leaving for a Palm Beach vacation in September, talked it over with their husbands and decided it was a workable venture to open the shop in the 750-square-foot space.
Condetta, who is the store's manager, said business is steady after the first month. She and her sister are the flower designers and their husbands help with the phones and greet customers.
"I'm here every day," Condetta said. "My sister and the guys are here every other day. We work as a team.
"I'm out the door at 7:30 in the morning," she said. "I like to get here early, turn on the music, put on a pot of coffee and look over my orders. I love everything about the business. I even like taking out the garbage."
What kind of investment did it take to open the doors?
It took about $16,000. We put in new flooring and new equipment, painted and purchased inventory. We knew what we were doing. We were prepared.
Besides silk and fresh floral arrangements, dish gardens and gift baskets for all occasions, what other services do you offer?
We've started floral design classes for children ages 4 to 12. The classes meet from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays. The $20 cost includes snacks and drinks. I like to have no more than six children to a class. We'll offer adult classes after the holidays.
There's a florist across the street from you. Do you think that hurt business?
Competition is good. She has her own flair and I have my own flair. Everyone has their own way, their own style. I think competition is good for business.
Chris Cosdon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.