For gorgeous flowers, stunning bouquets and gourmet fruit baskets, El Shaddai Florist on Middle Road in Warwick is the place to go.

Owner and manager Shirmika Brown opened the store six years ago this July, at its location on Middle Road near Lindo’s. The location itself is a godsend, she says. It also helps that the store is right next to a busy road and an equally busy grocery store, she added. “When people drive by here, they look and they can see the big sign saying ‘Flower Shop!’. It’s very convenient.”

El Shaddai Florist started with two staff and one van; as the popularity of their arrangements and baskets increased, they grew to six full time staff, one part time person and two vans. The store also expanded from its original size, encompassing the former Fashion Fabric location next door.

Mrs Brown chose the name El Shaddai because of its spiritual meaning. “It’s one of Christ’s redemptive names. It’s Hebrew and it means ‘The God that is more than enough’. When I think of El Shaddai I think of Him providing me with more than enough customers, with more than enough flowers, with more than enough creativity. I related to the spiritual aspect of the word… it has a great meaning behind it,” she said.

Mrs Brown began her career in floristry at age 19 when she began working in a flower shop. She had been working at several flower shops before the opportunity to open El Shaddai came along. She also studied for and received her National Certificate in Professional Floristry Level 3.

Unique designs

As for her own designs and the designs of her florists, the one thing she insists on is uniqueness. She said, “We offer the most beautiful, unique and different arrangements. I try to let the florists have a free style, whereas some flower shops have a set standard arrangement…I allow each and every one of them to use their own creativity.”

“Each arrangement is unique. Unless the customer requests that it look like something else, we try to make it look different. Everybody says that our designs stand out. I get numerous people saying that they know our shop because of the fact that we do the folded leaves and the way we present our flowers. The arrangements have that El Shaddai touch, that El Shaddai flair.”

The store also offers gift baskets, which contain bath lotions, shower gels, foot creams and foot soaks from McBloom’s bath line. Another hot seller is the decorated gourmet fruit baskets, which Mrs. Brown says customers love. The store does arrangements for weddings and other functions. They offer limited supply of rentals such as chair covers and chair sashes as well. They also deliver their arrangements island wide.

Busy season

Mrs. Brown says if customers call in the morning, arrangements can often be delivered the same day. They’re busiest on all the major holidays, and during the summer, they expect to do a least one wedding every weekend, if not several. “If we don’t have a wedding on one weekend, we’re like, ‘Whoa, this doesn’t feel right!’” she laughs. “The next week we’ll have four or five.”

Florists at El Shaddai use both local and imported plants in their arrangements. “It’s not hard to bring flowers in, once you’ve established a wholesaler…the only problem that we have on occasion is that sometimes the flights will get bumped,” Mrs. Brown said.

“I can’t complain, because it’s been really, really good for us. A lot of people have been bumped and we haven’t been bumped. You order one day and you get the flowers the next, or within the next couple of days. It’s very quick,” she added.

“We also use local greenery. If we get permission to pick from people’s yards or we just go on the roadside where it’s just public property and pick greenery.”

Mrs Brown clearly enjoys her staff and her store. In the back room her florists banter back and forth as they create beautiful arrangements. Mrs Brown says, “The best thing about owning this shop is when I get more compliments on running this business than I do complaints. That makes me feel good, when I have customers that come up to me and say, ‘You are the best.

“Your flower shop is the best.’ We have a very high standard and we have a good reputation. To me that’s the most fulfilling, knowing that I’ve gone into this business and it is successful. That’s the best feeling.”