Do you have an upcoming special event that truly requires the personal touch that only your local florist can provide? Perhaps you are proposing to your wife-to-be or even making floral plans for your future wedding… delivering Baby Congrats or Twin Flower arrangements to celebrate new arrivals… or you’re having to say a final good-bye to a departed loved one with a funeral arrangement… or even picking out the perfect corsage for your first prom date. Remember that Absolutely Beautiful Flowers lives up to its name offering these particularly personal services with panache!
The soothing smell of fresh flowers, a smiling staff and a cute mini-schnauzer named Jean-Claude holding court in his doggy bed are the first things you will notice when walking into Absolutely Beautiful Flowers in downtown St. Pete. Located on bustling 1st Ave N, the shop may appear small but don’t be fooled by the square footage. During their busy season, they hire more than 30 staff members to keep up with demand for their unparalleled services. This makes sense considering they were named one of the top 100 Florists in the country by FTD!
Founder Brad Catlin, takes pride in their unique creations and their mission to get people to shop locally when buying flowers. While the business is only in its sixth year, Brad has worked professionally in the floral industry for more than 25 years, having developed his love for plants and flowers as a kid. He noted, “My mother was always a flower person, a plant person… My parents owned a hardware store and nursery up in central Florida. Flowers are just another extension of what I was doing in the garden center. It’s been something I’ve been around pretty much my whole life.” Now, the florist has a dozen staff members, all of whom were trained by Brad. While Catlin says he does not have any secret tricks, he does know short cuts and formulas, and is happy to share them with his devoted team.
Besides the variety of traditional arrangements for things from funerals to celebrations, prom corsages to holidays, the florists at Absolutely Beautiful Flowers can create specialty bouquets that look like cakes, animals, emoji’s and even strawberry daiquiris. What fun! The company’s Instagram feed is loaded with photo after photo of gorgeous arrangements, including tropical, extravagant as well as elegant minimalist styles. Do check it out the next time you need some inspiration for the perfect reflection of your feelings.
“I’ve always loved flowers,” Catlin said. “It’s a creative side of me. I paint, I sew; it’s just another facet of who I am… Another way of expressing myself without using paint or material, because you can create things with flowers that most people don’t think about.” Having a passion for all things floral, Brad said he would love it if more people would incorporate flowers into their lives, if for no other reason than to appreciate their natural loveliness. He would like to see Americans “be more open to flowers, embracing them” like they do in European culture, where people buy flowers regularly—just because they like them, and not only when there is a special occasion to commemorate.
The staff delivers all around the Bay Area, from Pinellas to Hillsborough to Manatee County, providing flowers for all occasions. They regularly fulfill orders for different wire services, website sales, as well as for anyone who comes into the shop. Interestingly, with their location on First Ave. N., Brad noted they don’t get as many walk-ins as they would like, simply because most people are just driving by. “Walk-in traffic would be a wonderful thing to build up,” Catlin said. “We’d love for everybody to come in. You can come in and you can watch. I don’t have trade secrets because with Pinterest and everything on the Internet, there are no secrets in this world.” Now, that’s an invitation worth accepting!
Brad emphasizes that when you buy local, it’s better for both the consumer and the community. Take a few minutes to stop in… Mother’s Day is right around the corner… Choose a seasonal bouquet of flowers, specialty plants or a gift basket to reflect your genuine love and caring. “Uniqueness, individuality, creativity—these are all things you’re going to get at a flower shop that you won’t get at Publix,” Brad said. He added, “One hundred percent of your money is going to stay here and not go to corporations.”
Absolutely Beautiful Flowers is located at 574 1st Ave. N. in St. Petersburg. For more information call 727-470-5825 or visit www.absolutelybeautiful.us.