If you have seen a bouquet of fresh flowers left around Gig Harbor, they might be from the Floral Reef, a new custom-design shop that opened earlier this summer at 6617 38th Ave. NW.
Owners Mark and Molly McGinn opened the store after Mark retired from his career in the military. They have four children.
Two months ago, the McGinns started to leave a weekly “courtesy bouquet” around the harbor.
When she was young, Molly once released a balloon with her address in it. She hoped someone would let her know where the balloon ended up.
The florists decided to try something similar with the bouquets.
The McGinns have place flowers in different locations and posted pictures of them on Facebook as a clue. Attached is a poem, encouraging someone to take it, enjoy the benefits, then share the story of who gets the flowers.
“It has been the biggest joy and reward for me,” Molly said. “We don’t always hear where the bouquets end up, but we have great stories from the ones we know about.”
One went to a couple that was visiting Gig Harbor on their anniversary. Another couple said found it on the anniversary of a parent’s death. A jogger picked one up and carried it for a mile, Mark said.
“I like the idea of making someone in the community smile,” Molly said. “Mark gets smiles every day when he delivers flowers. I am going to keep doing the bouquets. I get so much back from giving one anonymously as a gift.”
The McGinns previously owned a flower shop in California. Molly worked in other floral stores during other military stints in Arizona and Michigan.
Mark’s current role is office manager, delivery driver and jack of all trades. Molly is the designer and creative force behind the arrangements.
Using her art degree and experience after she worked in her parents’ garden store, Molly gained additional knowledge doing holiday arrangements and taking floral-design classes.
“I enjoy the hands-on creativity of floral work,” she said.
Molly creates unique arrangements rather than what she called a recipe card typical wire services use.
“Those are great when you are busy, but it takes the vision and creativity away and doesn’t always allow for a personal touch,” she said.
Molly mixes color and texture with different flowers and foliage. She said she enjoys the seasonal flowers she finds at the Seattle Wholesale Market.
“Flower creations represent a special event or milestone for an individual with their own style, color preference and personality,” Mark said. “Molly loves to bring something special and unique to each of her arrangements.”
The Floral Reef is near the Gig Harbor branch of Tacoma Community College off Hunt Street.
“We looked in the harbor, but this location had parking, easy access and exposure from Highway 16 with the space we needed,” Mark said.
Along with custom designs for services such as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays or holidays, the shop carries gifts, includuing “Go Alongs” with flowers, candles, jewelry, stuffed animals and balloon bouquets, Molly said.
There also are pre-made arrangements and planter gardens.
The shop opened during wedding season. One reception at Mount Rainier allowed Molly to use freshly cut Northwest field flowers and foliage in a variety of vases, jars and bottles.
“I love out of-the-ordinary work,” Molly said.
The couple recently finished homecoming dances for Gig Harbor and Peninsula high schools with plenty of corsages and boutonnieres.
“The kids give me free reign to be creative,” Molly said. “They don’t want anything typical, and they are fun themes.”
Boutonnieres are fit with a magnet rather than a traditional stickpin.
“We do that standard with no added cost,” she said. “It’s worth it to provide relief so kids don’t have to worry about poking their date.”
The McGinns pride themselves on having an atypical florist shop.
“People are surprised we cost the same or are cheaper than a grocery store or another florist,” Mark said. “We want repeat customers and strive to be competitive. We hope our personal touch brings people back.”
There is no delivery fee or charge for consultations.
The McGinns said they’re looking forward to the Downtown Waterfront Alliance’s Ladies Night Out on Nov. 14. The store will be set up in the Tradewinds Treasure Gallery with samples and a discount coupon for a holiday arrangement for either Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s celebrations.
“It’s hard to believe that Valentines Day is just around the corner after that,” Molly said. “I love the adrenaline and business of the holidays, but it’s always special creating personal bouquets for someone and the attention to detail I can provide.”
For more information visit, www.facebook.com/TheFloralReef.GigHarbor.Lifestyles Coordinator Kim Eibel can be reached at 253-358-4152 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.