A business that sells fresh flowers grown by area farmers is looking to expand its presence in Springfield after recently becoming a finalist in a local “Shark Tank” style competition.
Flourish, which started in the fall of 2019, works with six farmers in Clark County to provide locally grown flowers to consumers, while also selling plants as well as creating floral arrangements for events.
The business was part of the Springfield Hustles competition this year, which wrapped up this month. Flourish made it to the finals, making it one of five business ideas competing for a grand prize package of $80,000 in grants and local services.
The winner was The Main Squeeze, a juicing startup that sells juices extracted from fresh fruits and vegetables.
Flourish was started by two Springfield natives Rebekah Colletti and Audrey Vanzant who wanted to provide a florist service in Springfield that would offer floral arrangement to weddings as well as flowers for everyday people.
Initially working with flower wholesalers, the duo decided to pivot to a more local approach this spring, something they say helps them stand out. They also are adding plants to their inventory as those products can be sold year-round.
Colletti described the concept as a farm to table approach to the flower industry, allowing consumers to enjoy a fresher flower selection while also reducing waste.
“That is a huge thing for us. We are not throwing flowers away. We are only sourcing those flowers after they have been purchased,” Colletti said, saying that flowers are picked after being selected by customers.
The business is mostly online, but has recently found a space in downtown Springfield to sell plants throughout the year at COhatch The Market at 101 S. Fountain Ave. Operating under the name, the “Oxygen Bar,” it offers a selection of dozens of plants and has a virtual checkout system. The shop was launched in October.
Colletti and Vanzant said they had found out about Springfield Hustles last year and decided to run in the competition this year, hoping to use the prize package to further expose their business.
In addition, they are working to expand the services they offer. As the coronavirus pandemic has gotten in the way of event planning, the business has added a delivery option.
Colletti said they are looking to purchase coolers that will allow them to deliver more flowers. She is currently the Associate Director of the Alum program at Wittenberg University. She said the plan is to recruit Wittenberg students to help make those deliveries.
Colletti and Vanzant are also working to rollout a flower subscription service next year. The goal is to deliver, on a regular schedule, an array of different flowers directly to customers.