Lake Zurich Florist is a quaint, unassuming one room shop on Main Street, tucked in next to the local diner, but it is more than what is seems. The floral service is the latest arm of Robert Boyce's multi-faceted, horticulture based business, which includes a greenhouse, nursery and landscape and design services.
“We grow perennials and annuals. We grow organic produce that we sell at least six local Farmer's markets,” Boyce said. “We have customers, we do their landscape maintenance, they order flowers from us and I design and build phases of their landscape. So I'm pretty well rounded in the green industry so we've had people come in and say, 'I'd like to order some flowers and, BTW can you have Rob come by and give me an estimate for a patio?'”
Beginning with Natural Environments, a company which focuses on environmental awareness, Boyce has been in business in the area since he graduated from The University of Illinois with a bachelor's degree in ornamental horticulture in 1982. “As a kid I was involved with cutting lawns and weeding and gardening for people and it just went on from there,” he said. “Through high school and college, I worked for other people's landscape and gardening industries.”
Driven by passion and a sense of a logical next step, Boyce bought the flower shop five years ago. “It rounds out the rest of the business plan that we have,” he said. “I wasn't really worried about how many other florists there are in the area or what the condition of the market was.”
The mid-November geraniums in the window speak to the fact the some of the flowers used in the store come from Boyce's nursery business. “In season we have perennial and wild flowers; prairie type plants into the late summer and fall. Our fields are abundant with goldenrod, sunflowers and asters right now,” he said. “If we're putting together a blooming basket we might use some of those along side with some other stuff that we didn't grow.”
Although there are a few plant related items for sale in the shop, the flowers are the focus for Boyce's florist business. “In all of the work that we do, from floral design to landscape design we are horticulture oriented; we're floral oriented and we bring that to any of our design work,” he said.
“Some landscapers and florists specialize in the hardscape, the trellises and lots of greens, vases, etc.,” he added “Of course we're going to include that, but we have a passion for the plant end of it.”
Design is the essential ingredient for the business. The staff realizes that flowers are a significant part of many personal moments in people's lives, from birthdays to Valentines Day to funerals; an arrangement speaks for the customer. “It's your responsibility to make sure that everything is exactly what the customer talked about because it is meaningful to them,” said designer Laura Riefenberg.
“We take pride in what we do,” added designer Gail Edquist.
Although there are recipes to follow for bouquets ordered online, customers can ask for Designer's Choice. “People get the most for their money with designer's choice because we're going to know what's the best flower today, what's going to look great,” Boyce said. “It's a seasonal business and certain flowers peak at different times of the year and their value changes depending on how available."
“They can tell us what they're looking for and what the purpose of the arrangement is and allow us to make the choices,” he said.
The business also offers gift baskets, which Boyce says is a popular choice. “There can be an interesting plant or fruit or a health food products.”
Whatever the customer chooses, Lake Zurich Florist strives to provide the best product available. “Our satisfaction is rate is very high but we do guarantee our work. If they receive our flowers and they're not happy with them for any reason, we'll change it, we'll fix it,” Boyce said.
The rarity of that situation, however is a result of the pride the staff takes in their work. “We bring creative flair and the emphasis on the art and the beauty whether it's floral or landscape construction,” Boyce said.
“It has an effect the things that we do and you can make someone really happy,” Edquist said. “They're counting on us.”
Check out the Lake Zurich Florist website.