By Ryan Cornell
Working as a florist can be a dangerous job. Just ask Lindsey Cyr, who opened Strasburg Florist in April.
The Maurertown resident has long suffered at the mercy of her flowers and design tools. She said that because of the equipment florists use, including knives, steel picks and a bunch cutter -- which is basically a paper cutter on steroids and has sliced open the fingers of Cyr's spouse and mother-in-law -- she always has to be extra careful.
"It's not like a clean, tidy, girly type of job, although it may seem like that," she said.
Even the flowers themselves might seem like they're out to get her. She said that stepping on a thick flower stalk could roll underneath a foot and lead to an injury.
Despite the risks though, Cyr has found her calling in life. When she was younger, growing up in Woodstock, she remembers walking to the Valley Flower Shop to get her friends flowers for their birthdays.
Her earliest memory of gifting flowers actually stretches back to kindergarten. Cyr was on the playground and spotted a white dandelion. She plucked it out of the ground and proceeded to stick it into another girl's mouth.
Four years ago, Cyr started a business out of her home that specialized in crafts and event rentals. When her sister was married in 2010, Cyr planned the wedding and organized the flowers. She started planning weddings for other people she knew, and then decided to dive into flowers full time.
"The demand for fresh flowers is much more regular than big fancy rentals," Cyr said. "There's more demand for fresh flowers than a $1,000 arbor to get married under."
Strasburg Florist joins two other florists in town, Buggy B's and Doghaus Blooms, and will deliver to areas from Woodstock to Winchester. Cyr said she wants to be involved in the community. Her shop offered specials for Strasburg High students for their proms and was the destination of a field trip for St. Paul Lutheran preschoolers on Tuesday, where 3- and 4-year-olds stuck carnations in foam and created fridge magnets out of artificial flowers
The King Street shop even has its own mascot, an iron ram statue she bought from the Flower Basket. She has affectionately dubbed it as Sam the Ram. She's already written a story about his life and is planning to make him a bit of a town celebrity.
"He's going to sit on the edge of the wall out front during business hours and we're going to encourage people to borrow him," Cyr said. "You don't need to come in and ask to take him. Bring him on vacation, take a picture and bring him back."
She wants to have a wall of pictures in the shop for the ram. And if he never comes back, she said, it's not too much of a loss because she never knew what to do with him in the first place.
Originally, Cyr wanted to call the shop, "Purple Petal People," but changed it to a more straightforward name when a friend suggested it might be confusing for people looking through the phone book.
Most of her customers spend between $25 and $35 for flowers, but Cyr said she works with any budget, sometimes selling arrangements for as low as $5. Cyr packs her arrangements with care and tries not to send anything that won't last for at least a week.
As wedding season reaches a peak, Cyr has some advice for young couples-to-be: switch out the blue petals for purple, yellow or white ones. Everybody wants blue flowers for their wedding, she said, but there are hardly any natural blue flowers. She added that every bride she's had in the last six months has gotten her flower ideas from Pinterest.
"People always need flowers," Cyr said. "I've already gotten so many 'I'm sorry' arrangements delivered that it's hard to believe."
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org