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Floral gallery adds sweet treats

Cafés have proven popular in book stores; why not flower shops?

Why not indeed, says Stephanie LaPrairie, owner of Stems Floral Gallery.

Since October, she’s been tempting customers with specialty coffees, teas, desserts and even lunch items like panini sandwiches, wraps and soups.

“It was something we just thought of doing,” said LaPrairie, who in September relocated her shop to Skyway Professional Centre at 4309 52nd Ave.

Previously, it operated in the Lancaster Centre strip mall at 2950 22nd St.

The owners of Skyway Professional Centre wanted a café in the building, and LaPrairie was aware of flower shops in the United States that have expanded their offerings to include food and drink.

“I think it’s becoming more and more popular, as the times are changing and people have to entice buyers to come in for an experience, or a destination.”

The Stems Floral Gallery café, which has yet to adopt a permanent name, is already attracting regulars.

Some of these work in Skyway Professional Centre. Others come from nearby buildings, including the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

LaPrairie has already noticed that many people visiting the orthopedic doctors in her building stop in for refreshments.

As the medical offerings in Skyway Professional Centre continue to expand, she expects this patient spill-over to increase.

And when the hospital’s cafeteria closes for renovations in the new year, business should grow further.

“We want to be really prepared, so that once our Christmas rush is over with the flower shop we’ll be completely ready to go.”

In addition to the revenue it generates, the café is beneficial because it attracts people who might not otherwise visit Stems Floral Gallery.

It also takes advantage of existing resources.

“Because we’re delivering flowers, we can also deliver lunch as well,” said LaPrairie, who’s already doing catering work.

Stems Floral Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. These hours could expand in the new year, said LaPrairie.



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