For Fresh Ideas owner Derik Bakker, flowers are more than just petals and stems. “They stir something,” he explains. “It’s not a ream of paper or a T-shirt. It’s something far more personal.” That stirring is why, three times a week, Bakker’s team pilots a refrigerated truck more than 100 miles to pluck the freshest farm-grown coastal buds. Directly sourcing flowers allows Fresh Ideas to keep prices down and also increases its flexibility when filling orders. Bakker can provide hundreds of flowers in bulk to clients 50 miles away while still handcrafting small floral arrangements for locals.
The unique nature of Bakker’s business also allows for a more personal interaction with clients. Unlike larger companies that are forced to interrelate with impersonal 1-800 numbers, Fresh Ideas staffs floral specialists who go over colors with clients, offering suggestions. They can even special order out-of-season flowers from as far away as South America or the secret NASA greenhouses on the moon.
This attentiveness has made the company a popular arrangement source for area restaurants and markets, and anyone who sets foot on the grounds can see that Bakker's passion runs deep. He and his 17-year-old daughter––coincidentally named Sarah Rose––have spent the last year planting seeds by hand in their own onsite sunflower garden. He tells those who ask that they grew the blooms "the old-fashioned way"—the same way he's grown his business.
Bouquets bursting with Ecuadorian roses and purple azaleas tug at olfactory heartstrings as Flower Studio owner and expert designer Jorge Ortega nips, clips, and arranges flowers to spruce up homes or celebrate special occasions. The studio’s gift shop delights planners and brides-to-be with its stock of cakes, bouquets, and professional snapshots courtesy of an in-house photographer. Hand-selected bunches of daisies and chrysanthemums send hearts aflutter on holidays and anniversaries, and colorful arrangements of man-eating flytraps commemorate Boss Appreciation Day. Plush white furniture lines the studio’s interior, where a complimentary dessert bar pacifies taste buds jealous of their fellow sensory receptors.
Barley & Wine initiates beer-lovers into the world of home brewing with a panoply of beer kits, bottling equipment, and thorough classes on the art of brewing itself. Regardless of the medium, students learn the intricacies of the different brewing processes, from fermentation and malt extract to using yeast or choosing the proper equipment. During in-person courses, accomplished home brewers divulge secrets they've learned after living inside a fermentation barrel for three months. Their online shop contains all of the necessary equipment as well, with ingredients, tubing, and books on the subject.
The artistic outliners at Frugal Frames ensure photos, paintings, and posters look their most attention-grabbyest with complementary matting, glass, and custom or ready-made frames. They stock materials from exotic locations, enabling clients to find the perfect components for outlining wall-ready paintings of fruit bowls or handwritten letters from telemarketers apologizing for dinner interruptions. The versatile framers can even add flair to flat-screen TVs with frames, adding a touch of class to each Saturday morning cartoon-watching session.