ANNA — Residents of Anna no longer have to travel to Sidney or other places to purchase home decor, gift items or fresh flower arrangements.
Betsy and Mike Martin, of Anna, have opened Bliss & Blooms Floral and Gifts and Bliss & Blooms Candles at 308 W. Main St.
Betsy had been a nurse at the Honda Engine Plant in Anna. Mike recently retired from an administration job there. They left to start the retail business.
The building had been the home of Betsy’s sister. At the same time the Martins were looking for a location for their shop, the sister’s family was planning to move out.
Mike, Betsy’s dad, Jim Elsass, and a friend, Dan Pleiman, gutted the house to the studs and rebuilt it to give the shop a vintage cottage feel. In addition to removing and replacing walls and installing new flooring, countertops, cabinets and ceiling beams, they fenced the backyard and planted flowers. They furnished it with tables and umbrellas for wine-tasting events there.
Betsy attended David Curtis Floral Design School in Centerville.
The Martins had a soft opening July 12 and plan a grand opening for July 30 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. They’ll have free gifts, children’s crafts, wine tasting, discounts and more.
“I’ve always done flowers and he wanted to own a business,” Betsy said about why they decided on the retail venture. Someone suggested the gift shop because there wasn’t already one in Anna. As local residents, they like that their business is in place to give back to their community. They’re already planning donations of flowers for the high school homecoming and prom.
Bliss & Bloom’s slogan is “Not just a gift, but a memory.”
“We want to put your flowers in something that’s a memory,” Betsy said, as she created an arrangement in a tin bucket covered in floral paper. She and Mike go antiquing to acquire unusual containers.
They offer free delivery of flowers and gifts in Anna. There is a $5.99 delivery fee to Sidney and surrounding towns. In addition to fresh flowers, the shop teems with home decor items; a line of soaps and lotions that are made in Ohio and packaged in wildflower-seeded paper;Mona B brand purses made of recycled tents, tarps and military uniforms; Blue Moon Sweet Fudge and Coblentz candy from Holmes City; OSU buckeye-themed and breast cancer awareness-themed items; scarves; wind chimes; helium balloons; Mary Meyer stuffed animals; and Fit Kicks, soled socks and fanny packs.
“I can’t believe how well they’re selling,” Betsy said of the Fit Kicks.
The couple will put together gift baskets and have partnered with the Candle Lab of Columbus and Cincinnati to offer make-it-yourself candles. Shoppers can choose their favorite scents from among dozens of possiblilities and create candles, body sprays, room sprays, bath salts or wax tarts. It takes about an hour and half for a candle to set.
“So you bring wine in and enjoy it while you wait,” Betsy said. They plan to host Fire and Wine Nights during which groups can do just that.
The shop sports a room with a television running children’s programming.
“Kids can watch while mom shops,” Betsy said. She noted that she’s been most surprised by how little effort it has taken to get the business started.
“We’ve prayed for everything and God’s opened doors,” she said. Besides acquiring the building as her sister vacated it, the couple happened to phone a Lima florist for advice just as she was putting her shop’s furnishings up for sale. The Martins bought storage coolers and other items from her.
“Every decision we’ve made has been easy,” Betsy said.
Bliss & Blooms is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday frm 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Reach the shop at 937-726-0475.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.