Minneapolis has thawed once again from an icy, arctic winter into a warm, sticky summer. With that, for the past six decades or so at 43rd and Upton avenues, come the steady, sweet smell and sunny respite of the corner floral shop.
“When you have a Minnesota winter that lasts nine months and you get to come in here and things are green and growing and fresh and lovely, you just get a lift,” said Susanne Laitala.
She and her daughter, Anne Schultz, are mother-and-daughter co-owners . The shop, a true family business, has gone through a handful of owners over the years. Laitala and Schultz are only in their fourth year of owning and running the Linden Hills staple, but these green thumbs aren't green to the business. Laitala and Schultz worked under the former owner Susan Casad.
After graduating college with a degree in studio art and moving to Chicago to work in corporate America, Schultz returned to Minneapolis to pursue something more her style. With an affinity for gardening and experience working at nurseries in high school, Schultz applied at the local flower shop after seeing an ad in the paper. She got the job, replacing the employee who had done much of the wedding side of the business. The former owner told Schultz the weddings were hers if she wanted them.
That was 12 years ago.
“Anne got a wedding client the first day,” Laitala said. "I said, ‘It’s a sign; you’re supposed to be here."
When Casad decided it was time to sell, Schultz had three children under the age of four but was interested in buying the business.
Schultz then approached her mother, who had also been working part time at the shop, about going into business together. The business became theirs four years ago.
“(Casad) met with other prospective buyers," Schultz recalled. "And I felt like, ‘Why are they buying my shop?’”