Floral Studio 1796 a place to learn, too
By Mark Sherry
Mark Sherry photo
Kerri Brantmeier (center) of Floral Studio 1796 admires the work of student Cheryl Paul (left) done during a class recently run at Floral Studio 1796 by Cindy Ellenbecker of Bleating Heart Haven.

Fresh, beautiful, fragrant flowers for all occasions remain the primary focus at Floral Studio 1796 in New Holstein, but owner Kerri Brantmeier is not afraid to bring some new things to her customers and the community.

One of those new features at her shop located at 2126 Wisconsin Ave. (STH 32/57) is a section of the store designated for area crafters, artisans and people willing to learn.

Brantmeier said the art studio will serve a variety of purposes. It could be used by area crafters who just want to get some friends together to do a project and need a little more space than their home might provide. Those crafts could include scrapbooking, rubber-stamping, card making, painting or any number of other projects. There will be a small hourly fee for use of the area, but in return people also will be able to use Brantmeier’s personal supplies as needed.

In addition, the area also can be used by people who want to teach their art or craft to others. The first of those classes took place Saturday, March 16 when Cindy Ellenbecker of Bleating Heart Haven taught a class on “Art for Your Neck.”

Truth Flower class planned

On Friday, April 5, a “Truth Flower” class took place in which metal flowers are used as a base onto which participants put positive quotes and other decorations. Also in April, a class was planned for children who painted a garden object as a potential Mother’s Day gift.

“There are so many artists in the area that I’d like to get them in here,” Brantmeier said. She also said she will be increasing some of the corresponding lines of arts and crafts items for sale in her store based on customer feedback.

Again, people interested in classes either as teachers or students are encouraged to call Brantmeier at 898-5660 and discuss the details.

“My main focus will always be the flower shop,” Brantmeier said, and along those lines said she really enjoys providing flowers and floral/decorating advice for all sorts of special occasions, especially weddings.

The wedding season is here, and brides-to-be are encouraged to stop in at Floral Studio 1796 to find out the myriad of services which Brantmeier can provide to make that special day even better.

“I really try to give personal service and tailor things to fit their needs,” she said.

Come in and chat

The best bet for brides-to-be is to make an appointment with Brantmeier to come into the shop and discuss all the options. Brantmeier said she does not like cookie-cutter packages. “I will work really hard to personalize your wedding,” she said.

In her years in the business, Brantmeier said she has done bouquets for some weddings for $500 or less, while other brides have spent $4,000 or more for their wedding flowers. She said she is glad to provide whatever services are sought based on the wedding party’s budget. For some that might be just bouquets, while others want Brantmeier with them throughout the day.

Some brides, Brantmeier said, want to put together their own bouquets, and even in that case she said she is glad to help them through the process. She said she has heard horror stories of brides calling the day before their weddings to say their internet-purchased flowers look horrible, not having the knowledge of an expert such as Brantmeier that the flowers should have been hydrated prior to the big day.

Among the trends Brantmeier said she is seeing in the wedding business is people booking services closer to the wedding day—three to six months out instead of a year or more—and more monochromatic weddings in which a single color is chosen as the theme of everything in the wedding, including the flowers.

No matter what the bride wants, Brantmeier and her Floral Studio 1796 can fill the needs and she looks forward to doing so. “I love doing weddings,” she said.

Serving other occasions

Floral Studio 1796 also provides floral service to many area funerals each year as well as other occasions, such as anniversaries and retirements. A big part of her business, however, continues to be the man or woman who comes in off the street or calls to order something for that special person in their life. “My favorite bouquet is when a guy comes in and says, ‘Just because,’” she said.

“I try to keep a good selection,” Brantmeier said of her coolers filled with fresh flowers. “I try to always have red roses in stock. I try to have one kind of lily in stock, and always something tall.” She can get deliveries of fresh flowers daily from suppliers as needed. Green plants are delivered fresh to the shop about every two weeks.

Brantmeier also continues to keep a close eye on her many gift lines, restocking what sells and changing out what does not. In addition to flowers, all-occasion cards and chocolates are among her best sellers. She said she feels she has some of the nicest all-occasion cards available in the area.

Kitchen items such as spatulas, paring knives, dip mixes and gourmet food baskets also sell well at Floral Studio 1796, as do magnetic scrapbooking embellishments. When customers buy a gift for someone at Floral Studio 1796, it leaves gift wrapped and ready to go—not just in a plastic bag.

“I hope when people come into my store they really feel comfortable,” Brantmeier said. “If they just want to chit-chat, that’s OK.”

She added, “I’d like to think that I have something for almost everyone.”