“I just want to play with flowers all day.”
Flowers have always been a part of Brooke Plough’s life.
“My dad was a gardener,” she said. “I hung out with my dad. I was an outside kid. I loved plants in general. I remember playing with plants and being interested in them. My great-grandma would make her own herbal potions and I thought that was really cool. I do have my own master herbalist certificate.”
Plough came into the flower business through selling her home-grown flowers to the former owner of Raindrops ‘n Roses.
“I used to give her a call every other day asking if she needed anything, and one day she was like, ‘I actually need a pair of hands,’” Plough said. “So I started working here and absolutely fell in love with it and basically ‘took the bull by the horns,’ as she said.”
The former owner, Lisa Fuchs, was ready to retire after 26 years, Plough said. She put the business on the market last fall and Plough bought it earlier this summer.
“We did talk about me purchasing it, but my husband was a little skeptical because of Covid and we didn’t know what was going on,” Plough said. “I told her I’d love to but the timing was terrible. She talked to me one more time and then said she would put it up for sale – this was last fall. My husband was still [on the fence], so I talked to him again. She put it up for sale and I talked to him again. He turned around and thought it would be a good idea to buy the business, not the building.”
So Plough took over Raindrops ‘n Roses, but Fuchs still owns the building at 530 E. Broadway Street.
The timing is better now, because Plough’s youngest child has grown up and moved out of her house, she said.
“I homeschooled my kids and she was my baby,” Plough said. “Now that she’s gone, I feel like the business is my baby.”
Plough spends about 10 hours a day in the store. Her daily tasks include keeping the flowers clean and hydrated, cleaning the coolers, and making flower arrangements. Plough’s big goal is to continue running the successful business the previous owner started.
“I have big shoes to fill,” she said. “If I can run it as well as she did, I will have done a successful job.”
Since taking over, Plough has redesigned the showroom. She added a wedding area that features an arch and garden table. And of course, flowers.
The furniture pieces are for rent. In addition to a garden table and wedding arch, Plough is also renting out pillars, vases, and even a small couch.
“One of my goals is to really let people know I have things here available to rent, anywhere from votive [candles] to that couch, the arch, vases, wood planks, and there’s lots of things here people would be able to utilize,” Plough said.
Another big change Plough is working on is phasing out Floral Oasis, a toxic, green, foam-like material used to hold flowers in an arrangement in place.
“It is extremely toxic,” she said. “It never breaks down and it’s hard to breathe. A lot of florists are no longer using it, and I have made that change too. We are still using it for funeral arrangements because I haven’t yet found a good alternative that works in a fast-paced, busy flower shop. But we have switched over to chicken wire in our Teleflora containers and baskets. Overall, we are using about 50 percent less Oasis.”
Raindrops ‘n Roses flowers mostly comes from Marvin’s Wholesale Florist out of Indianapolis. Plough occasionally uses another flower buyer, and hopes to be able to grow her own flowers to sell.
“I was growing them, but now I don’t have time,” Plough said. “When I first started, I had planted flowers, but I couldn’t keep up with it. There will probably flowers I will always grow, sunflowers being one, but it won’t be on the scale I was before.”
The shop has been busy all summer for Plough and her five employees. She said this past week was one of the slower weeks she’s seen since taking over, but she was still pretty busy with funeral arrangements.
“Flower shops are usually slow in the summer but we have not been slow,” she said. “There has been no let up. There’s been a lot of funerals.”
She’s also picked up more weddings than the business was servicing before. Because of this, roses are one of the most popular flowers Plough has used in arrangements.
“I have been getting different roses,” she said. “They’re called rose hearts, and when they open up they look like hearts. They’re not your typical rose.”
Plough believes, hopes, and has heard that carnations are making a comeback. They’re one of her favorite flowers.
“They’re priced well, they’re beautiful, and they smell amazing,” she said. “They’ve been bred to have some really cool colors. I just love carnations.”
In fact, Plough offers a Wednesday special on carnations: 1/2 off singles or bouquets.
The other weekday special she offers is Tuesday, where customers can get a $30 bouquet with free in-town delivery.
Raindrops ‘n Roses is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.