Wildflowers Floral Well-Received by Community
It is obvious why.
With two jobs – a full-time position as a service manager with a dental insurance administration – and as the owner of the recently-opened Wildflowers, in Shippenville, and Valley Flowers, in New Bethlehem, Rapp-Minsterman’s hands are full.
However, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
A 2005 graduate of Redbank Valley High School, she enrolled at Westmoreland County Community College to become a dental hygienist and finished her studies at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in health policy administration.
In 2013, she bought her first business, Valley Flowers, having no previous experience in retail businesses or floristry.
“I didn’t know what business I wanted to do but that I wanted to own a small business,” she explained, saying the store just happened to be for sale at the time.
“I thought it would be fun. I had no background, no training whatsoever.”
Cindy Carrier, an employee who had been there before Rapp-Minsterman, was the one who taught her floral design.
“Floral design wasn’t too bad. It came with time,” she said. “It really was the retail management. The retail business aspect was completely different to me.”
Though she lacked experience, Rapp-Minsterman was successful enough to purchase a second flower business in 2018, Bloom Town Flowers, in Rimersburg.
Noticing many of her customers lived in Clarion and towns further north, she decided to move the Rimersburg store to the old Tom’s Sales and Service building on Route 322/Riverhill in Shippenville during the spring of 2021.
The move was completed in June.
“We were getting orders from Clarion, Shippenville, and other surrounding towns in northern Clarion County, and it propelled me to open a location in Clarion. The renovation was the most difficult part.”
Though it carries the same products as Valley Flowers, Wildflowers has a different atmosphere.
Rapp-Minsterman described the building as a garage for Tom’s Sales and Service. It needed extensive remodeling, and though the store looks significantly different, it still preserves its warehouse feel.
Products and Supply Chain
Though Wildflowers is a floral shop, Rapp-Minsterman said gifts, and especially bereavement items, have become a larger part of her business throughout the years.
“I bet I do 30 to 40 percent less fresh flowers since 2013,” she said. “I really shifted to bereavement items.”
Popular items include lanterns, garden stones, and wind chimes to remember loved ones who have passed.
Wildflower’s website displays all the items available at the store.
She recommends going through the website to see the different products Wildflowers has in stock.
“Our website really drives people to see our examples of the product lines we carry.”
Supply chain issues, as in many other industries, continue to plague Wildflowers stock.
“Getting products available has been the biggest challenge,” she explained as she pointed towards added taxes on the cost of freight as high as four percent on goods she buys. “To make sure you’re stocked is really tricky.”
Even as she confronts these supply chain issues, 2021 has been a successful year for her.
“Business has been good. It’s been one of the best years for business.”
Appreciation for Employees and Customers
“I couldn’t do this without my staff and family,” said Rapp-Minsterman.
Specifically, she recognized Kris Flick and Carolyn Lander, at Wildflowers, and Heather Johnson and Gabby Smith, at Valley Flowers, for their role in helping her build her businesses.
By the same token, she detailed how the local community has come together to support the new Wildflowers store.
“The support from the community has been fabulous. People have been stopping in the shop to say how good it is we’re here. It’s been wonderful to hear that.”
For more information, or to contact Wildflowers, call 814-297-2229 or visit their website.
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