Changing with the times

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

Helena Florist relocated from a home-based business to Old Town Helena just last year. Around 2011, co-owners Phillip Levine and Will Yuille expanded their business via Sips and Snips®, an interactive floral class.

“In this day and time, we can’t compete with Teleflora at $29.99, even thought our arrangements are more unique and individualized and even considering the fact that I can assemble a small arrangement in five minutes,” said Levine. “The walk-in florist business is a dying breed; it will join the telephone booth as a relic from the past. Currently, our business is split about 50-50 between our website and phone-ins. Sadly, walk-in traffic in Old Town has also proved to be inadequate.”

Helena Florist Rules of the House: No carnations. Only mini-carnations. No artificial wreaths. No boutique or jewelry items. HF is not a gift shop.

“Our stock-in-trade has been stylish containers and wow-factor plants,” he said. “We will add balloons, suited to the occasion.”

They will leave their Old Town location by Feb. 28 and already have two reputable (up-to-their-standards) florists interested in taking over their customer base.

This leads to Levine sharing that he nor Yuille “are going jet-setting” and in fact, expect to “retire” to work at Home Depot.

“Will,” Phillip notes, “is a ‘fixer-upper personality’. I am more of a ‘contractor personality’ who understands that ‘the customer is always right.’”

I asked Levine about his personal favorite arrangement ever.

“It’s a 6-foot tall Base Fiddle created from cushion mums and edged or outlined with mini-carnations. It is striking and deep in rich color. We have created more than one of these upon request,” Levine noted.

Another unique presentation added along the way is a crescent shape arrangement that contours and forms a backdrop for a cremation urn.

Another of Levine’s popular requests is an arrangement for a male called “A Walk In the Woods,” featuring branches and vines.

For Valentine’s Day 2017, Levine suggests their “Love Is Eternal” arrangement, an artful array in fresh pink, white and green featuring the timeless beauty of pink stargazer lilies, snapdragons, white anemone, roses and stock and exotic green bells of Ireland.

Also, “The Wow Factor” lives up to its name. Both of these can be seen and ordered online at: HelenaFlorist.com

If you would like to order one last Valentine’s Day gift from Helena Florist, call 205-664-4884 or Phillip Levine’s cell phone, 205-283-3209.