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Floral bar at this new Gainesville shop offers fresh choices
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Flowers are displayed on the floral bar at The Fresh Bloom on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. The shop provides a fully stocked floral bar where people can create their own bouquets, floral boxes and arrangements. - photo by Austin Steele

Sisters Shelby Bright and Sara Bagley decided it was their time to blossom.

The Fresh Bloom, located at 1062 Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville, held its grand opening Saturday, April 13.

Like an a la carte menu, customers who enter the business have their choice from a spread at the floral bar.

Bright and Bagley offer flowers including poppies, antique hydrangeas, frilled tulips and ranunculuses.

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Flowers are displayed on the floral bar at The Fresh Bloom on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. The shop provides a fully stocked floral bar where people can create their own bouquets, floral boxes and arrangements. - photo by Austin Steele

“It’s really important for us that if you’re spending your money on flowers, we want you to be included in the process,” Bright said. “It’s fun to see how excited people get about this because flowers bring me so much joy.”

Instead of buying an arrangement in a vase, the bar encourages people to take a bouquet home to place in their own holder. Bright was first exposed to this idea during her travels in Europe.

“I fell in love with the European style,” Bright said. “I think it’s a great concept because we waste so much. Just having the flower bar teaches you about the different flowers, and you can create whatever bouquet you want.”

People can choose to pay for the individual flowers, or opt for a petite bouquet, which includes six stems of any flower for $18.

For those who want a centerpiece design, Bright creates arrangements in hat boxes and ceramic vases.

The Fresh Bloom also provides floral pieces for weddings and events. Once the business gains a steady customer base, Bright said they will begin advertising for delivery.

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Shelby Bright, co-owner at The Fresh Bloom, prepares a floral arrangement on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. The shop provides a fully stocked floral bar where people can create their own bouquets, floral boxes and arrangements. - photo by Austin Steele

The sisters receive their shipments of flowers from two wholesale companies and two local farms. While flowers are in season, Bright said she enjoys taking advantage of the plants Three Porch Farm in Athens and Whimsy Flower Farm in Blairsville have to offer.

With local farms as suppliers, The Fresh Bloom’s flowers last longer than others. The less time it takes to ship the plants, the longer the flower life.

Bright said learning from local farmers has proved eye-opening.

“With traveling and buying flowers in different places, you see what all is out there,” she said. “It’s educating others that there is more to flowers than just a pretty hydrangea that you see. I’m blown away at how much flower farms work to get pretty blooms into our hands.”

The idea to open The Fresh Bloom sparked from Bagley, who wanted to combine her business skills with her sister’s creativity.

Bright took her first floral design class for fun while living in Nashville. At that time Bright said she hadn’t considered opening a flower shop.

Through encouragement from friends and family, she decided to pursue more classes at New York Flower School Catherine Muller .

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Shelby Bright is co-owner at The Fresh Bloom with her sister, Sara Bagley. The store opened in April and provides a fully-stocked floral bar where people can create their own bouquets, floral boxes and arrangements. - photo by Austin Steele

“I absolutely loved it,” Bright said. “It’s really important to learn from different people who have worked in the industry.”

Bagley said the name of the business was inspired by their mission of purchasing flowers fresh from local farmers.

“Across the bar, our goal was to do something trendy, different and fresh,” she said.

Both sisters hold degrees in marketing and grew up in their family’s former business, Johnny’s Pizza.

Even though the two have worked together, Bagley said they both have started to see each other in a different light.

“Working with my sister has been fun and also challenging,” she said. “I have so much more respect for her now, and she has more respect for me. We’re co-workers and friends, not just sisters.”

If Bagley could convey one message to the community of Hall County about her floral business, she would tell people that it’s “OK to take flowers for themselves.”

“So many people get them on a special occasion or for a specific reason, but you don’t need to have a reason,” she said. “You deserve them.”

The Fresh Bloom is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. For more information about the business, visit www.thefreshbloom.com or call 470-290-8596.

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Shelby Bright, co-owner at The Fresh Bloom, prepares a floral arrangement on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. The shop provides a fully stocked floral bar where people can create their own bouquets, floral boxes and arrangements. - photo by Austin Steele
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