It’s almost impossible to truly define Brick Street Botanical as a business. Although they sell flowers, they’re technically not a flower shop. They sell plants too, but they are not a nursery. They even sell antiques but alas, they aren’t an antique shop either. The best description of Brick Street Botanical is that like us, they’re a creative business. But instead of using computers and cameras, they use flowers, plants and a combination of found antiques and salvaged materials to create beautiful and organic works of art that even the manliest of guys can appreciate. Walking around Brick Street Botanical is inspiring to say the least. Everything in their space serves as a continuous lesson in how some of the most unlikely things can be used to create something beautiful and unique.
Meet Holly. She’s the owner of Brick Street Botanical and her story reads like that of a true artist. Originally from Oregon, Holly tells me that she has lived all over and attended at least 8 different colleges. She then asks for a tiny piece of paper wire. (She happens to be working on an arrangement as she’s talking). (I also told her that I was going to put that request in the blog post). While working at a Hollywood Video in Seattle Washington, she was held up at gunpoint while walking home one night. Fearing for her safety, her grandparents offered to pay for a college course at a community college in the suburb of Kirkland. It was there that she had her first experience with plants and flowers. After completing the horticulture program, she continued to take art classes at colleges all over while working at the local flower shops. As it turns out, the hectic holiday work schedules that come with working at a flower shop always conflicted with Holly’s college finals. After deciding once and for all that getting an actual degree wasn’t for her, she set out full time in her chosen profession. Talented as she was, Holly was able to get jobs at flower shops everywhere. She tells me that she worked in Guadalajara Mexico for $4 a day (more than her friend made as a dentist there). And to the other extreme, she worked in Vail Colorado where she found herself working on arrangements for celebrities such as Harrison Ford, Kathy Lee Gifford, Heather Thompson, President Gerald Ford, Joe Montana and Martha Stewart.
Then came the car accident. On a routine delivery for a flower shop, Holly was hit at a stoplight. Amazingly, she was able to still make her delivery on time but the injuries she sustained from the accident kept her from working for 2 years. When she was finally able to work again, she found herself in Northwest Arkansas working at Bloom, a local boutique flower shop in Bentonville. After receiving a settlement check, she decided to open her own shop and Brick Street Botanical was born. Now after 5 years, she’s one of the most sought after artists in the area and for good reason. Her impeccable eye for design, her knowledge of horticulture and her commitment to her unique craft help her turn out some of the most innovative and stunning designs in the business. And if you don’t believe me, she has the awards to prove it. She has both national and international accolades for her work as a designer, she’s been featured in Martha Stewart’s magazine a number of times and in 2010, Brick Street Botanical won the local “Greenest Office Award” from the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. Brick Street Botanical was also the first Green Plus Certified business in the state of Arkansas. The best accolades though, come from the assortment of personalized thank you notes and cards that adorn a certain section of their wall space.
The interior space of Brick Street Botanical is a unique mixture of quaint, earthy, organized, and art studio. Unique light fixtures adorn the walls and sit atop the makeshift tables and crates. Plants of (literally) all shapes and sizes occupy the front part of the space. A big concrete/metal countertop doubles as a place for the store’s cash register and also as workspace. As it is with most stores that sell flowers, Brick Street Botanical has a cooler where arrangements are stored. But unlike every other flower shop around, their cooler also has built in space for a beer keg that allows the shop to serve complimentary beer on tap. And although nothing was “on tap” when I visited the shop, Holly tells me that it’s common to share a glass of wine or beer with customers while talking wedding day details, sustainability practices or life in general. The back part of the space serves purely as a storage/work space. Varieties of boxes wait to be reused for deliveries and miscellaneous tools peek out of cups or lay where they were last used atop the counter. Remnants of stems and leaves cover the beautiful hardwood floors, much like a barbershop’s floor after a good haircut.
Holly and her husband Eric (who also works at Brick Street
Botanical) live above their space. Holly declined my offer to photograph their
living space, citing a build-up of laundry as her reason. Running a small
business myself, I have to say “I know how that goes.” But Eric lets me in on a few upcoming details. An Arkansas native, Eric
has been an artist for much of his life. He has extensive experience in Graphic
Art, Photography and Illustration. But his upbringing on a farm also prepared
him for a life with plants and flowers and of course, Holly. Recycling energy and
water conservation are all practiced within the shop and now that they’re
working on renovating their living space together, they have big plans for implementing
a number of sustainable projects there as well. Among these are
a rooftop garden, which Eric says will also serve to educate customers on how
to grow and take care of their own plants and flowers. They’ve even formed a
non-profit aimed at obtaining government grants for some of their projects. And
Eric tells me that one of their clients, James at the Mill, has graciously
donated gift certificates for a raffle set to begin very soon. (FYI for all you "foodies" who are reading.)
When all is said and done, the projects could draw some national attention to downtown Rogers and for those of us who call downtown Rogers home to business and life in general, that is very exciting. But in the meantime, Brick Street Botanical does more than it's fair share of drawing people from all over the area.
For more information on Brick Street Botanical, visit them on their website or facebook page. Or better yet, take a little drive down here and experience their beautiful and innovative space and business for yourself.Brick Street Botanical
105 W. Walnut St.
Rogers, AR 72756