Flowers send a message. Loved ones share bunches of them when celebrating a life event, such as a graduation or the birth of a child. You may hand a bouquet to someone you love as a reminder of how much you care. Often times, arrangements are shared to celebrate the life of a loved one who passed away. No matter which of the varying reasons we share flowers, they are an important part of culture and can say a thousand words.
Broad Brook Gardens, located in South Windsor, has been counted on by the community for over thirty-two years to bring beauty to the events that mean the most. Go Local sat down with owner Bob Muska, his niece Sarah Muska and Laura Dufresne, who has brought her twenty-five years of design expertise from Floral Expressions, to discuss what has made them the go-to floral shop for over three decades.
Originally, Broad Brook Gardens called the town of Broad Brook its home, hence the name. Twelve years ago, the business moved to South Windsor. Bob began his career while working alongside his uncle, who was a florist in Somers, at the age of sixteen. Bob purchased Broad Brook Gardens from the original owner, who had been operating the business for eighteen years from his backyard, and moved the business to the center of Broad Brook. Now that the owners of Floral Expressions have retired, Broad Brook Gardens is one of the only florist shops in South Windsor.
Keeping the business local is essential to the value of the product customers receive. Sarah shared, “Our main thing is that we are a local florist. With the Internet, we are trying to keep the local florist business alive. There are so many order gatherers such as Pro Flowers and things of that nature, but it’s always best to call your local florist directly. We hand make it and directly deliver it.”
Laura agreed, “It’s more of a personal service.”
Sarah explained that most customers don’t realize they are paying a service fee when ordering the arrangements through online services. “There’s a service fee that’s charged, so if they order and call one of the middle men who send it to an actual flower shop, they may pay $100, but the florist will only get about $80. It’s always best to call directly and we can put the value into the product. A lot of those are cookie cutter style arrangements, but if you call us directly, we can tell you what we have that’s fresh and make it more unique and stylized to what you’re looking for.”
Bob said, “Using an online service limits your creativity. After awhile, when someone’s been a customer long enough, they know us enough to trust our design abilities and leave it up to us to make something look nice for them.”
It’s that established trust in the quality of Broad Brook Gardens’ work that has helped them develop a strong customer base in the community that they have come to know over the years. Sarah shared, “We have customers that have been with us, some of them for over 30 years and they’re like family to you. They send the same arrangements to the same people every year and you get to know them. They are what keeps the business going.”
Sarah continued, “When you get a call on the phone and they just love something you made, that just makes your day. You’re catching a lot of people’s emotions too. It could be a happy occasion, a sad occasion, and that could just make everything for them.”
Bob agreed, sharing, “We have a whole door full of thank you notes from people. We’ve done their weddings or we’ve done funeral flowers and have gotten thank you notes for the amount of personal touch we’ve put into them.”
People often turn to Broad Brook Gardens both during happy occasions and harder times. The staff at the shop takes pride in making any occasion beautiful for their customers. For example, the shop recently created a casket piece utilizing Christmas greenery in honor of their work on a tree farm. Based on the interests of the deceased, the shop also created a casket piece using tobacco leaves. Sarah shared, “It’s not just out of a book and you point at it. We really make it special.”
Laura nodded and shared, “They’re very personal.”
Bob is proud of the shop and everything that differentiates them from other businesses. “Our shop is diverse. We are really creative and it puts a smile on people’s faces.”
While the stunning flowers in rainbows of bright colors bring lots of life and beauty to Broad Brook Gardens, the shop also offers several gift options including snack baskets, sympathy lamps, fruit baskets, slippers and scarves. The shop also currently has a permit to offer a wine basket.
Laura shared, “People think we just do flowers, but we have a lot of nice, unique gifts that people probably aren’t even aware of.”
Sarah agreed, “We are one stop shopping. We cover all occasions with so many different options. People think it’s just fresh flowers, but we have such a wide variety of things we can do for all the different occasions.”
Broad Brook Gardens are also passionate about keeping their business local. The store offers honey from Bee Haven in Tolland and candles from Kringle Candle in Bernardston. The shop also works closely with Opportunity Works in Vernon and The Farmer’s Plate in North Grosvenordale. The business also incorporates local growers such as Syme Farm in their shop.
Sarah shared, “We service a lot of towns in the area. We deliver on a daily basis to Enfield, Manchester, Vernon, Windsor Locks, South Windsor and Broad Brook. We cover a pretty wide area. If someone wants to send out of town or to a different state, we can wire it to another flower shop like ourselves that we know will take good care of the order.”
The staff at Broad Brook Gardens is passionate about the hard work they put into creating unique floral gifts. Bob suggests that customers take a look at what they offer online and then call or visit the shop during business hours to make it personal.
Stop by Broad Brook Gardens, where each staff member is happy to help curate a one-of-a-kind piece. Their wall of thank you notes proves that business is blooming.
Broad Brook Gardens is located at 938 Sullivan Ave., South Windsor, CT
Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday
Visit broadbrookgardens.com for more information
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