COLFAX — The gift of flowers has always played an important role in almost every single relationship.
From giving a single rose to say sorry for something silly or a bouquet of colorful daisies to celebrate a momentous occasion, people gift flowers just to tell someone special they care.
In the past, many Colfax residents had to drive about 10 miles to gift these fragrant arrangements. Now, thanks to a new partnership between Shugar’s and Flowers By Rebecca, locals can purchase a personalized, floral design at the grocery store, 28 E. Howard St.
“We have never had a major floral section before,” Shugar’s store manager, Jenny Welch said. “I would love to keep the stuff (local) if we can.”
Flowers By Rebecca began selling flowers at Shugar’s on Valentine’s Day. Due to its success and positive response from the community, the business decided to allow the certified floral designer, Rebecca Carter, to continue selling her flowers throughout the year.
“We had a great turnout for Valentine’s Day. Everybody loved it,” Welch said. “When customers were not purchasing (flowers), they were commenting how much they like it, how everything is beautiful and how (Rebecca) does a great job in everything. The word is definitely getting out.”
Although Carter began her career in the floral industry in 1998, flowers has always played an important role in her life.
“When I was a tiny tot, my family had an acre or two of garden. I recall running from one grandparent clear down and around to the other. (Flowers) have been part of both sides of my family. Living in Iowa, I am sure there are a lot of people that have some relation to a farmer,” Carter said. “I had a great aunt who actually started Irene’s Flowers in the Drake-area.”
The certified floral designer moved to Colfax when she was 3 years old. Since graduating from Colfax-Mingo High School in 1999, the florist has been traveling around the state to pursue her passion for floral design.
“It is just the community vibe, hometown. Becky is from here,” Welch said. “In high school, we graduated together. We have been friends since then.”
Carter graduated from floricultural school at Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids in 2002. She then continued her work as a florist throughout the state.
“I have been in and out through the industry, working at a lot of different (flower) shops. I have a lot of experience of different tastes, perspectives and takes by different people,” she said. “The art of floral design — composition, color play, texture fragrance and eye attraction — it is tough.”
Soon after, Carter moved back to Colfax, and set up a small floral business in 2013.
“I love all different types of flowers when designing with flowers. I like it long and large, but I can also doing something really nice, composite, lovely and small,” she said. “It is taking a quality a product, something that sparks and catches your eye, and pair it with something similar.”
From centerpieces at a large wedding to a unique, birthday bouquet, Carter is willing to arrange flowers for any occasion and take on any request to fulfill her customers’ floral needs.
“It is fun for me. That is really the biggest attraction. I just find it fun being around (flowers) and it makes me happy. I think it does the same for a lot of people,” she said. “I am more than willing to do my best to make whatever anybody needs, and make them happy. I will go above and beyond, and do something that they don’t realize that I can do.”
Carter works part-time at Shugar’s. Thanks to this partnership, the floral designer can now add an extra personalized touch to the flowers sold at the grocery store.
“At some places, they get it shipped in and it is placed on the ground or shelf. Either someone picks it up at a good point, or that poor plant, doesn’t get taken care of and ends up in the trash,” the florist said. “I am taking care of it as soon as I get it. I am cleaning it up, trying to keep it at its height as long as it can without bacteria issues or watering it.”
Welch said she believes this arrangement will not only benefit the needs of the grocery store, but the entire community.
“We have a close-knit, little family here, as far as employees. It is awesome to have her on hand, so she can also take care of her product as well, and expand that,” Welch said. “It is a great collaboration and teamwork. I hope it takes off. It’s exciting.”
For more information, call Shugar’s at 515-674-4310.
Contact Anthony Victor Reyes at