It’s the end of another busy day for the Susan’s Flowers & Artisan Boutique staff. The shop is closed, but the bustle and cheer inside haven’t stopped — the telephone is still ringing and a final tidying up of displays commences. All is in step with the holiday season’s hectic pace.
Within 453 Main Street, the Dinkel building, which once housed the Valley Journal’s newspaper offices, Jody Ensign and Mikki Jordan oversee the shop’s artisan front-of-house section, where the focus is on goods from Carbondale and Roaring Fork Valley artists. Floral bouquets are arranged in the back.
Owner Susan Burr, who also ran a flower shop in Basalt for about 15 years, has been at the current location in Carbondale for about eight years. Ensign, a former co-owner of the Basalt Gallery, met Burr when she had her shop across the street. Ensign and her partners later sold the gallery to Ann Korologos, and Burr, now in Carbondale, asked for Ensign’s assistance.
“We’ve always been good friends,” said Ensign, “and she asked me to kind of coordinate the artists for the boutique of local art.”
Burr’s Carbondale shop, selling flowers and chocolates, was first housed in the back half of its current location. When the previous tenant in the front of the store left, she took over the space and asked Ensign for merchandise ideas. Her reply: “Local artists need space.”
Ensign, the first director of the Third Street Center, knew many artists from there and from her gallery days. She and Burr made a list of artists and contacted them to ask about selling their wares, and, “some have been here since day one,” said Ensign.
With visually appealing displays, the attention to detail makes for a pleasant shopping atmosphere. Everything, except the clothes and handbags, is made in Colorado. “That makes us different, because you don’t get the usual gift shop,” she continued.
Burr and Ensign collaborate on the blueprint for store inventory. There seems to be something for everybody. From stuffed animals and onesies for babies to children’s books.
For “big kid” fare, they carry wine glasses, locally-authored books, lotions, soaps, popcorn, jams, spices, hummingbird feeders made from recycled bottles, greeting cards, jewelry, artwork, women’s clothing (including pajamas and loungewear), handbags, journals and calendars.
During a visit by The Sopris Sun, floral designer Lynn Rouff was completing a tabletop holiday arrangement in the back of the shop. She began working at Susan’s this year and arrived with years of experience in organic farming, landscaping and working with flowers and plants. Her focus now, Rouff explained, has been on decorating homes for the holidays with Christmas trees, poinsettias, wreaths and garlands.
The Christmas trees come from a couple of Colorado sources, Rouff explained. And, while some of their plants “come from all over the world,” they also get organic plants and flowers from Zephyros Farm and Garden in Paonia.
Arrangements are available for every occasion, including funerals, birthdays, anniversaries — with deliveries from Rifle to Aspen. Floral design is an intriguing blend of color, texture and shape.
Rouff explained, “You know what it is? It’s divine alchemy. You’re tapping into the source, you’re getting out of the way and you’re letting that happen. And it’s alchemy because everything is incorporated, all of it, the shapes and sizes and all the color stuff, and the designer as well.”
Did I forget to mention chocolates?!
“Susan has always done flowers and chocolate,” Ensign shared.
A Glenwood Springs chocolate maker creates most of them, and “many use our exclusive recipes.” A few are made with vodka from Carbondale’s Marble Distilling Company, including the Midnight Espresso chocolates.
At the end of a busy day, Ensign is tankful for the Carbondale shoppers she sees every week. “We are really pleased with our Carbondale loyalty,” she said, “I’m very thankful for our Carbondale clientele.”
Store hours are Monday through Friday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Saturdays (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). To visit their website, go to: www.susan4flowers.com