What's a Flower Bar?
Pick-your-own bouquets on North Territorial
From the February, 2018 issue
Flower Bar occupies a small powder-blue house on the diagonal corner of Pontiac Trail and North Territorial. When we stopped by midday on Wednesday, the intersection and parking lot were both deserted, but owner Laura Huey says "the traffic backs up for miles in the morning" with people traveling between Ann Arbor and South Lyon.
Huey opened the shop in September with her husband, Brett, and their two daughters, Cece and Anna. Though the selection of flowers and plants diminishes in the winter, a collection of buckets is available for customers to choose their own bouquet or have Laura pick one for them. Either way, it's then wrapped in a burlap coffee bag.
In addition to flowers, there's a cafe serving coffee and tea drinks, smoothies, and baked goods from Livonia's Cantoro Italian Market. There's also a large selection of local artisanal gifts: toffee from Novi, tea towels from Wixom, bath bombs from South Lyon, at least four different brands of handmade candles, plus lotions, jewelry, jams, and more. A shelf of brightly colored dog treats is Cece's pet project--she wants to work in a dog rescue organization when she graduates from Wayne State in May.
There aren't many places to sit: when winter came, Huey moved in the shop's only table and chairs from outside, and there isn't room in the crowded interior for more. She anticipates the cafe will do most of its business when people can sit outside in warmer weather.
The building previously housed another flower shop, Bokay's; when the owner left the business in 2014 due to health issues, the Hueys saw a chance to fulfill a longtime dream of a small family business. It took three years to redo the parking lot and interior and persuade Salem Township to rezone the corner. That gave them time to visit other businesses for ideas and merchandise. "We went to every store in Michigan!" laughs Huey.
The name came from a class project Cece
did where she had to create an idea for a business. She liked the idea of a choose-your-own flower shop, "like a salad bar!" Cece was trained as a barista for her job at the Livonia Courtyard Marriott, and the rest of the family received training from their supplier: Uncommon Coffee Roasters in Saugatuck.
Bokay's was beloved by locals. "The community would come in and clean her flower buckets for her, pick her food up for her, get her medicine," Huey says. That goodwill has carried over to the Flower Bar. "I think that's why we get a lot of men that come in," she says.
Flower Bar, 5241 North Territorial. 239-9225. Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. facebook.com
[Originally published in February, 2018.]
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