By Natalie Ervin
From providing feathered hats for the Red Hat Ladies Society to creating customized bridal bouquets, Destiny Floral & Gifts owner Susan L. Davis believes her shop has something personalized for everyone.
"Getting to know people is what makes it special," Davis said.
The store attracts regular customers as well as those whose eyes are captured by the sparkling jewelry, red and purple feathered hats, and bouquets of roses in the window displays. Davis moved her store from downtown Spokane to the Garland District almost 15 years ago.
Destiny Floral & Gifts is the only shop in the Spokane area that does bridal bouquet preservation and framing. These frames incorporate the preserved bouquet along with other items of the bride's choice, such as boutonnières and wedding invitations. For Davis, the preservation technique makes the bouquets come alive. Selected frames are hung along the wall of the store displaying each bride's unique combination of colored flowers from her wedding. This keepsake will last forever and is a representation of the close relationships Davis has with her brides.
"You are in their lives," Davis said. "I've had clients that have been with me since I opened my doors."
Dried bouquets take about 3 months to complete. The process not only involves drying and tinting flowers, but also consultations with each bride in order to make them perfect.
"You really need to listen to her," Davis said. "It's the most important day of her life. I'd rather do a small, intimate wedding because you get closer to your bride."
Building relationships through flowers is important to Davis. Through her floral shop, she has watched weddings become less traditional and more personalized. Today, brides are into color and don't let their mothers plan their wedding like they used to, making nuptials "not so plastic and more genuine."
Every Saturday, women from the Red Hat Ladies Society come to shop in the Garland District and talk to Davis about their lives. Children come in and play, putting on hats and trying on scarves. Mothers are looking for corsages and boutonnières for their daughters' first homecoming dance. Occasionally, she even receives a desperate phone call from a young man who says he's "in trouble" and needs to make amends with his girlfriend. This is all part of her job. For Davis, flowers are what connect people.
Being personally invested in the lives of others is not always easy. After Davis' best friend passed away, she did what any other florist passionate about her work would do: she made the flowers for her friend's funeral.
"It was one of the hardest things, but no one else could do it," she said.
Maintaining a close community with people is something for which the entire Garland District is proud. Ardith Dunlap, "Queen" of a local Red Hat Ladies chapter, owns and manages a similar store across the street called Queen Mum's Treasures. Like Davis, she also sells brightly colored red hats and treasures, bringing the Red Hat Ladies to both of their shops. There is no competition between the stores, but only a greater sense of community. Dunlap often refers customers to Destiny Floral & Gifts encouraging them to go and see what she has.
"One business will help the other business," Dunlap said. "It will bring more people in."
Through word of mouth and walk-ins from the Garland community, Destiny Floral & Gifts has become a family-friendly place for people to purchase beautiful things for the people they care about.
"This is my dream job," says Davis. "I want to grow. That's always the goal."