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Grower Direct expands to second location

Guy Quenneville
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, December 03 2008

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - A Yellowknife flower shop has spread its petals to the other side of town.

Richard and Rebecca Birch, owners of Rebecca's Flowers (Grower Direct) in the Centre Square Mall, have opened a second, far bigger location for their flower arrangement enterprise in the Stanton Plaza, allowing them to expand their product line in some areas, bulk up production and serve a bigger contingent of the city's population.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Richard and Rebecca Birch, owners of Rebecca's Flowers, show off the front room of their new second location in Stanton Plaza. - Guy Quenneville/NNSL photo

"Everybody who's from this area of town has come in and said the same thing about our store: 'It's about time!'" said Richard, speaking from the back room of the new 1,600 square foot store, which opened in the former location of Kelver Diamond Supplies and Consulting on Nov. 22.

The Birches' mall location - which opened more than 10 years ago and was purchased by the Birches last September after a management stint in the summer of 2006 - measures a comparatively small 400 square feet, leaving little room for the mass production the Birches have long had in mind.

The new store changes that, offering an immense back space in which the Birches and their employees can work to produce floral arrangement both from scratch and from pre-fabricated bases.

"It allows us to take our store to the next level," said Richard.

The new store better allows the Birches to take on more wedding clients than they used to be able to accommodate. Rebecca, who said she especially loves contributing to "the happiest day in a person's life," estimated the business handled 12 weddings this year. A new wedding boutique section - with catalogues of floral arrangements and videos of weddings - will be installed inside the store by January, said Richard.

More space also means more inventory, as the owners have expanded their selection of vases and will offer products they say don't necessarily cry out "flower shop" but fall neatly within the interests of the Birches, who have served as senior pastors at Glad Tidings Fellowship Church.

The couple plans to offer a beefed-up selection of Pentecostal-themed books in the future. They hope to also offer, through a supplier in Minneapolis, M.N., the option of ordering murals, like the 13-foot-by-nine-foot mural of an Italian wine vineyard that graces the back wall of their store.

"We like to make things beautiful," said Rebecca.

The Stanton Plaza store will create more job opportunities as well. Grower Direct currently employs four to six people part- or full-time.

"At Christmastime we usually have six full-time helpers, so you can imagine what that means when we have this new store," said Richard.

Most of all, the Birches say they are glad to now have the opportunity to serve those living in the biggest suburban district of town, a market that previously went untapped at their Centre Square Mall location, said Richard.

"A lot of people, for whatever reason, simply don't want to travel downtown," said Richard. "Before we opened, there was nothing like this in this part of town. So really it was a no-brainer. And people are really glad we came here."