BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — For flower shop owner Kendra Bills, giving the gift of a fresh floral arrangement is much more than offering pretty flowers in a vase. “My product is flowers and gifts, but what I really sell is emotion – it’s that connection with people – and I love that,” said the owner of In Bloom Flowers & Gifts. The full-service flower shop provides arrangements for any occasion, from weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and proms to Mother’s Day, Sweetest Day, Valentine’s Day and baby showers. Bills and her staff of designers, Debra Sear and Alison Zechman, also do much more, including decorating a porch, patio or living space, or providing design services for business meetings, holiday office decorating or other special business events. Kathleen Butler of The Andersons uses In Bloom Flowers for all of the company’s floral arrangement needs. Last week, she ordered several for Administra-tor’s Day and In Bloom provided the floral arrangements for The Andersons’ corporate office grand opening. In addition, Butler uses In Bloom to send get well and funeral arrangements. “I couldn’t be happier with them,” Butler said. “They have the most unique flowers and the most unique vases – their artistry is outstanding. Nothing in town compares to them.” Bills and her team love to create arrangements with unexpected elements, such as air plants, artichokes, pomegranates, Brussels sprouts and potatoes. “With flowers we definitely see a more natural approach with more texture – people want to see those unexpected things put together and that’s what we love to do,” Bills said. In addition to flowers, the shop carries a full line of unique fashion accessories, candles and home décor. All items include free gift-wrapping for easy gift giving. While Bills has always had a flare for art and design, she pursued a business degree after high school. Following the birth of her first child, the married mother of two settled into the parenting role until the opportunity to purchase In Bloom presented itself. With business partner Amanda LaFontaine, Bills took ownership of the business in 2009, which at the time was located in Erie, Mich. In 2011 the pair relocated the shop to Maumee and Bills eventually became the sole owner. She attributes much of her business success to hard work and networking. She is involved in the Women’s Entrepreneurial Network and Business Networking International, among others. “I feel like the networking groups have been huge in helping me grow my business because it’s all about creating and building those important relationships,” she said. She also belongs to the Maumee Uptown Business Association and The Maumee Chamber of Commerce, for which she serves as vice president. Being a small business owner in Maumee, especially in the uptown district, has been particularly beneficial. Not only does Bills enjoy the community, but she also enjoys collaborating with fellow women business owners on various marketing initiatives. “I have absolutely loved getting to know everybody here in Maumee,” she said. “It’s a very supportive community.” In Bloom Flowers & Gifts is located at 203 Conant St., next to Bob Miller Interiors in uptown Maumee. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information visit www.newinbloom.com or call (419) 794-3000.
Ten AW DECA Students Qualify For International Competition
BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Ten Penta Career Center-Anthony Wayne High School students are heading to …