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Nursery business grows to include flower shop

April 08, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

BOONSBORO-It was an opportunity Chris Doyle couldn't pass up.

When The Flower Cart in Boonsboro closed about a year ago, the community was left without a florist. Already running Mountainside Gardens just east of town for the past 10 years, Doyle figured it was time to open his own flower shop on site.

Concerned because he said he knows nothing about flower arranging, Doyle began exploring the possibility.

The key was hiring Carol Wilt as floral designer.

"We opened on Jan. 29, just in time for Valentine's Day," Doyle said. "I needed someone who was dependable and knew flower arranging, and Carol was that someone."

Ten years ago, Doyle got into the greenhouse business with little knowledge of how to make it work. But hard work and perseverance paid off and it did work.

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A deli was added later.

Before his business venture, Doyle was a Washington County Sheriff's Department deputy for 14 years, and a firefighter and fire chief for four years before that. He worked as a transport officer, taking jail inmates to bond hearings and trials.

For the flower shop, a room was carved out of the greenhouse just to the right of the main entrance. A huge cooler was purchased to hold the cut flowers and other perishables.

Wilt also has a large table where she can create her floral arrangements and a small office area.

"We have live dish gardens, and we create balloon arrangements, funeral tributes and wedding flowers," Wilt said.

Doyle said there are some accessories available for sale, but not a lot of statuary.

Wilt had been working at a large nursery in Frederick, Md., and initially wasn't interested in relocating. But last fall, she started looking into the possibility in earnest.

"Business has been pretty good," Doyle said. When the shop first opened, Doyle and Wilt delivered arrangements to the post office, banks and other places with notes attached saying there was a new flower shop in town.

"People saw them and looked to see which florist had arranged them," Doyle said. "We got a lot of business from that."

Delivery is free within the corporate limits of Boonsboro, and elsewhere for a fee, Doyle said.

Most of the shop's flowers come out of Baltimore, with deliveries up to twice a day during busy seasons.

There are water gardens and fish ponds available with Doyle's two children, Brady and Jessica, helping out.

Mountainside Gardens is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

For more information on the flower shop and the greenhouse, call 301-432-5129. For information on the Mountainside Deli, call 301-432-6700.

The businesses all are at 311 S. Main St. in Boonsboro.

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