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Services: St. Cloud Floral blooms large in design scene

Alyssa Zaczek, azaczek@stcloudtimes.com

After over 100 years of business, St. Cloud Floral has earned its spot as the best of the best.

The 2016 Best Florist winner in the Best of Central Minnesota competition was founded in 1912, but owners Rhoda and Dwayne Paurus have been at the helm for the past five years. Rhoda, who is also a floral designer, prides herself on St. Cloud Floral's aptitude for nontraditional designs.

"We can do traditional if that's what the client wants, but we really try to stay on trend in the industry," Paurus said. "It takes a while for trends to get to St. Cloud, but we do try to let people know that it's available to them."

The Times recently sat down with Paurus to talk trends, challenges and favorite blooms.

Question: Can you tell us a bit about the services you offer at St. Cloud Floral?

Rhoda Paurus: First and foremost, we're fresh-cut flowers. We use fresh-cut flowers in our designs, and we try to provide something a little bit different, not totally traditional. The other big thing is that we deliver all day. You can call us at 1 p.m. and we can deliver your design that day. Sympathy flowers as well as wedding flowers are a big part of our business. And gifts; I think that's the one thing people don't realize we have. We have a very large selection of gifts available.

Question: What is a day in the life like for you a St. Cloud Floral?

Paurus: In the morning we usually have a few orders to start the day with. We'll go through the process of readying the designs for those orders and getting them out. We continue to take orders and deliver throughout the day. We also have a great website that allows us to take orders as well. We get fresh flowers in from suppliers pretty much every day of the week, which gives us the flexibility that we have to take orders and deliver all the time. If you call us and need, say, a design with tropical flowers that we don't have in yet, chances are we're getting a delivery later that day or the next, so we can still do that design for you. We also spend a lot of time meeting with brides and consulting with families.

Question: What is challenging about running a floral business?

Paurus: The thing that stands out most to me is that it's a perishable product. Every day we're working with perishable product. For anybody new coming in (to work here), the challenge is learning all the different types of flowers we get in and learning all of the different things that need to happen to them. After they learn the point of sale system on the computers — which is actually probably the easiest part for them — then they go into learning about all the varieties we use, their qualities and our style of design.

Question: What trends would you like to see develop in the world of floral design?

Paurus: It's not going to happen for us in an urban space, but I really admire the people who have shops where they can go out and pick the flowers that they've grown and use them in their designs. So we're working with more local, organic growers and garden flowers that are very fresh.

Question: What is your favorite part about owning a floral business?

Paurus: I have a few favorite parts. The first would be designing, because that's what I love the most, working with the flowers. I enjoy the business part; sometimes it's hard for a designer to handle the business or a business person to handle design, but I enjoy both. And I love being able to go out a couple of times a year to the floral markets and conventions to source new ideas, new colors ... it's all very fresh there.

Question: We know it's like picking a favorite child, but do you have a favorite flower?

Paurus: Orchids. They come in so many colors, and their detail is really amazing.

Follow Alyssa Zaczek on Twitter @sctimesalyssa, email her at azaczek@stcloudtimes.com, or call her at 255-8761.

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