Two years ago, Laura Shannon dreamed of opening a floral shop, and her then-new neighbors, Jon and Sarah Bucklew, had hopes of launching Lakeland’s first food hall.
Today, when you first walk into newly opened food hall The Joinery, owned by the Bucklews, one of the first vendors to greet you is Shannon’s flower boutique, Bloom Shakalaka.
While Shannon is the owner of Haus 820, The Collective, and Ashton Events, it was overwhelming requests from clients about her floral arrangements that sparked the passion behind her latest venture.
After a series of soft openings, Bloom Shakalaka first opened its doors inside The Joinery on Main Street last month. It’s on a mission to be branded as the “funky, fresh, flower shop” that spreads joy and happiness to anyone who encounters it; and it’s already making its mark.
“We’ve seen it grow since we opened our storefront,” Bloom Shakalaka manager Catherine Marrinan tells The Lakelander. “Our ultimate goal is to bring funky, fresh flowers that are new to the Lakeland area.”
Protea flowers have been dubbed one of the favorites since the launch.
“We love proteas!” says Marrinan. “Any kind of proteas. One of the super-popular [flowers] in our shop is the king protea. It’s just magnificent. It’s one of my favorites, but there are several different types that we offer – pink ice proteas, pink princess proteas – it’s just really exciting to us when we’re able to have those different flowers in our shop.”
The options are so unique that it’s often the first time many customers have seen or heard of them.
Marrinan says, “We have people who get super excited about our flowers. They’ll say, ‘What is this? I’ve never seen anything like this!’ They get excited to come in and have the full experience.”
For those who aren’t necessarily experts when it comes to spreading flower magic, the Bloom Bar was created with the floral novice in mind. Customers are encouraged to select their floral favorites as a starting point for their bouquet, and a member of the Bloom Shakalaka team will help pick out fillers to make it complete.
“It’s all about personalizing the experience for each guest that comes in,” says Marrinan. “That’s the essence of who we are.”
It’s safe to say Bloom Shakalaka is living up to its name.
“The name itself describes what we want it to be about: [customers] coming in and having a good time, laughing at all of our funny cards, and leaving with a smile on their face,” says Marrinan. “The point of flowers is to make people feel good. That’s what we want our store experience to be.”