New shop creates excitement among crafty people

Lesa Nivens Benefield, center, owner of Petals to Piglets Flowers and Gifts, and Julie Thompson, right, manager of the shop’s new spaces open for local craftspeople to show and sell their work, check out one of Druscilla Chauffe’s handmade christening gowns as she sets up her craft space. (Contributed)

By SHELBA NIVENS / Community Columnist

When I stopped in recently at Petals to Piglets, Lesa (Nivens) Benefield’s flower and gift shop, I was surprised at all the excitement and activity going on. Cars were pulling in and parking. People were going in and out.

One lady — I found out her name was Drusilla Chauffe — brought in two beautiful white, handmade christening gowns spread over the top of a large container holding several types of handcrafted items. She was setting up her rented area in Lesa’s enlarged shop where local craftspeople will display their handiwork.

Lesa’s husband Barry was in and out, making necessary additions and adjustments to areas. In the office Susan Chesser was busy updating the shop’s Facebook page. And Julie Thompson, who will be handling the new gift area, was running here and there helping where needed. Lesa will continue to take care of the flower shop, for flowers are her passion, she said.

After Julie, a previous gift shop owner, moved to the Chelsea area, she and Lesa got to talking about their gift shops, Lesa said, and decided to open a new-type gift shop together.

They wanted a place where local craftspeople and artists of various types can express themselves and where the community can enjoy shopping for inexpensive gifts and items for their homes in a unique setting, she said.

The portion of the building where the new shopping area is located was once the home of Lesa’s grandparents, Frank and Bertha Nivens. Various rooms of the old house are set up with antiques, crafts and gift items. Lesa loves to point out the old canning room off the kitchen where her grandmother taught her to cook.

Lesa and Julie are presently welcoming customers, craftspersons wishing to rent space and other interested parties. But the grand opening for the new shop will be Oct. 20, Lesa said. They are located at 10705 Old Highway 280.

Call Lesa for flowers at Petals to Piglets Flowers and Gifts, 678-4756; Julie for craft space information, 337-912-5703. Or both at the flower shop number. Find Petals to Piglets on Facebook. Email, peltalsto/


Shelba Nivens can be reached by email at