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Flower shop sold to Tami Chrest

Tami Chrest and Barb Mickelsen had been talking about a possible sale for about a year. On April 1, it became a reality.

4/17/17 (Mon)

New owner . . . Tami Chrest prepares a bouquet of tulips at Kenmare Floral Wednesday morning. Chrest purchased Kenmare Floral from Barb Mickelsen and renamed it Peony Petals Floral and Gifts, opening with the new name on April 1.    

By Marvin Baker

Tami Chrest and Barb Mickelsen had been talking about a possible sale for about a year. On April 1, it became a reality.

Chrest, the former director of social services for Burke and Renville counties, purchased Kenmare Floral from Barb Mickelsen and renamed it Peony Petals Floral and Gifts.

“My mom’s favorite flower was peony, so it’s in memory of her and dad,” Chrest said. “I have always loved decorating and thought this would be a good fit and after attending a flower school, I’m convinced.”

Chrest, who spent 24 years in social services, most recently the director in Burke and Renville counties, said she and her daughter Kennedy attended a floral class in Minneapolis to learn about proper arrangements. In addition, they are taking online courses to help them as well.

“There is a science to it,” she said. “It’s not just putting flowers in a vase. You always want them to be happy with the arrangement.”

She expects to make a few changes, but nothing drastic. Some new flooring needs to be put in on the showroom floor, but otherwise, she expects to do a little painting and remodeling after Easter. She also wants to see how things go and where customers’ demands lie.

She fully intends to keep the flowers and gifts in the showroom.

Since opening April 1, a day she calls a coincidence for a business transfer, Chrest has had a variety of customers already.

“It’s surprising,” she said. “I’m very pleasantly surprised. It’s been busy.”

And business expects to pick up substantially in the coming weeks. Easter, Mother’s Day, graduation, then weddings in the summer are all ahead of Chrest and her daughters who will help when they can.

Kennedy will be a student at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks and McKenzie is working on an online degree from Dickinson State University. Son Keaton, who attends Kenmare High School, is also expected to chip in from time to time.

“I’m looking forward to the holidays coming up, but I like to stay busy,” Chrest said. “The girls will come back and help when they can, which will be nice.”

Mickelsen has been very helpful to Chrest during the transition. Chrest said she drops in every morning to answer any questions she might have or offer advice they may have forgotten to talk about.

“We’re all excited, it’s a good change,” Chrest said. “It’s the chance of a lifetime and it’s thanks to Barb and Jerry.”

One from the advice column is handling flowers during the depth of winter, since they’re very delicate and can freeze easily.

Chrest said she has considered that and Mickelsen has provided the proper advice to make that a simple condition of a sale rather than an obstacle.

Mickelsen, who has been in the floral business for approximately 35 years, is happy to turn the keys over to Chrest.

She said the decision to sell was difficult considering she and her staff have kept Kenmare and the surrounding area decorated for more than 30 years.

“However, everything grows and blooms in its own time,” Mickelsen said. “We thank all of our wonderful customers for the business and support through the years, and we wish Tami well.”

Chrest admits this is a major change of pace from her previous career. Instead of commuting to two different counties, it’s now 5 miles to work and 5 miles home.

In addition, she said jokingly that flowers don’t talk back.

The telephone number will not change. That remains 385-4684, and hours of operation will be Monday through Friday from 9 a.m., to 5:30 p.m., and on Saturday from 9-4, and may change depending on business.

Chrest said she foresees hiring help at some point in the future.

“I expect to have specials and will do like Barb and have classes of some sort,” she said. “The potential is endless.”

In her talks with Mickelsen, Chrest said negotiations went by the wayside for a while and she almost felt like it wasn’t going to happen, but is grateful to Mickelsen for the opportunity to start a new career.

“Right now, I’m just getting my feet wet,” she said. “I love to decorate, but I have some big shoes to fill.” ... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!