By Melissa Sheil
A FAMILY run florist in Kalamunda has not only survived the economic toll of the pandemic but managed to thrive.
Our Flower Studio owner and florist Lucinda Smith-Pedlar said she could have never foreseen the opportunities that would bloom out of the uncertainty.
“We were initially quite frightened because a lot of our business is in weddings, parties and functions – events that were not allowed,” she said.
“But it’s been made up for and bloomed like crazy in other ways.
“For example, Easter isn’t usually an event for us at all but we were inundated with orders because people couldn’t get together, so they were sending flowers to let their families know they cared and missed them.”
Flowers were no longer reserved for birthdays or specials occasions but for letting love ones know they weren’t alone.
“We had to be the middle person to communicate love between people who couldn’t see each other,” she said.
“Flowers can say it for you when words or a hug can’t.”
Our Flower Studio is a family affair, with Mrs Smith-Pedlar running the shop, daughter Megan covering marketing and administration and husband Darren assisting with renovations and occasionally deliveries.
Mrs Smith-Pedlar said the pandemic was an opportunity to re-evaluate the business and look to local suppliers.
“We changed our aprons, our website, our hampers, our branding and our wrappings,” she said.
“In terms of COVID we had to change our delivery tactics to be contactless, but we also had to figure out how to get creative with our arrangements, since so many of our usual flowers couldn’t be imported as they are from overseas or over east.
“We started really looking locally for things we need, like the chocolate for our hampers.”
Shopping local is an important cause to Mrs Smith-Pedlar, who recently signed up for the Bendigo Bank and City of Kalamunda partnered program ‘Kala Cash’.
The gift card program encourages spending money at local small businesses, motivating residents to celebrate the diverse array of stores in the area.
“It’s a brilliant idea to keep people shopping up the hill and may help people stay safe if they are buying things from small local businesses rather than crazy busy big stores down in the flats,” said Mrs Smith-Pedlar.
Meanwhile in Mundaring, similar success booms with the opening of the Shire’s first small bar, Hemingway and Co.
Proprietor Lisa Barnett Taylor, said the timing for opening was perfect.
“I had some time off for COVID and I had time to think about what I wanted to do, which I think a lot of people did, a lot of people reassessed,” she said.
“I go out locally a lot, I live locally and enjoy dining out and eating at local establishments.
“I noticed people weren’t travelling as much and I thought it was good timing for Mundaring to have a new business and for people to embrace it.”
Hemingway and Co is designed with touches of Parisian accents, inspired by Mrs Barnett Taylor’s time in France, with a rustic authenticity that reflects the space’s existing brick interior.
She said the Mundaring business community had rallied behind each other during the pandemic.
“I’ve been in business in Mundaring for ten years, and I was on the Chamber of Commerce for five years, they’re a great bunch of people, they’re a build you up group of people,” she said.
“The business community is so supportive of each other, especially during hard times like COVID-19, we’ve gone out of our way to make sure everyone is buying local and supporting local.
“A lot of people have said why don’t you open in the New Year but we want to capture that fun Christmas spirit and end a difficult year on a high note,” she said.
Similar reports are coming in from down the hill, with Sista Fitness in Midland defying the odds and opening a newer, bigger premises.
Owner Maggie Carroll said despite the economic interruptions of COVID-19 the centre had managed to grow its membership.
“We were closed for three months and in that 12 weeks there were a lot of unknowns,” Ms Carroll said.
“We didn’t know if the members would come back.
“But human interaction is so important and the community come back for it which is also important for mental health.”