by  Aaron Burns

HUNTERSVILLE – Connie Ouellet owned a balloon store in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in the 1990s, and a floral shop in Cary once she moved to North Carolina nine years ago.

So, Ouellet thought, why not combine her passions and make them one business? The result: All About Flowers and Balloons, a full-service florist and balloon store off Brookway Drive in Huntersville.

The store opened in June to a receptive audience, serving the Lake Norman area, Statesville, Concord and Charlotte. Because the business is open seven days a week, delivery requests can come at any time.

“The feedback from the public has been positive,” Ouellet said. “One lady was confused when she got her flowers, because the water had a yellow tint. That’s because we color our water to add a decorative aspect to it. We also don’t put the stems in water, to make a more unique arrangement. You’ve got to try and stand out (in this business).”

Having an edge or standing out is important, Ouellet contends, because of local competition.

Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce President Bill Russell agreed.

“There’s always going to be a need (for florists), no question about it,” Russell said. “As we continue to grow as a region, you’re going to see more requests for floral arrangements for different events. We’ve got a good market segment for it.”

That fact has helped Ouellet and her family-run company, which also employs her four daughters.

“I’d like to think there’s a market for every (florist) in the area and a need for all of them,” she said. “I don’t really focus on what others do, though. It’s about serving the customers as best you can.”

The company has a wide variety of offerings, including occasional partnerships with bakeries for people who want chocolate-covered strawberries with their flowers, as well as gift baskets. An upside to offering multiple services is the ability to provide services for small parties as well as corporate events and large decorations for malls.

Floral designers held roughly 76,100 jobs in the country in 2008, a PersonalityDesk study showed. Half of those jobs were in florist shops like Ouellet’s, which are expected, the study showed, to maintain a long-term market presence because of custom orders.

That sort of long-term viability was one reason Ouellet said her shop and others should succeed. The high volume of custom orders Ouellet said she receives also keeps day-to-day operations interesting.

“People will ask for all kinds of arrangements for different events,” Ouellet said. “That’s part of what makes it fun. You never know what’s going to be requested.”

Want to learn more?

All About Flowers and Balloons is located at 15905 Brookway Drive, Suite 4108 in Huntersville. Visit www.allaboutflowers or call 704-997-6073 for pricing and delivery details.