Sharing the world’s beauty is both an avocation and a vocation for Denise Jefferies, the owner of Bella Florals and More.
“I enjoy making people smile, delivering a gorgeous product and making people’s days,” she said. “Everybody who comes in the studio, if they buy something or even if they, we hand them a rose and tell them to have a ‘bella’ (“beautiful” in Italian) day and people just light up.”
As the name implies, the designation “flower shop” doesn’t quite encompass the scope of Bella Florals and Mores’ offerings. Jefferies uses the phrase “floral studio” to describe the venture, housed in airy and inviting space off of Front Street that includes a newly opened and pleasantly eclectic patio near the entrance.
Bella Florals and More features an array of fresh flowers, hand-tied bouquets and floral arrangements, for walk-in customers and special events, including destination weddings, and handling the floral needs of hotels and their clientele. The business serves customers from Marco to Naples and the surrounding area. Deliveries, including on a daily basis, are available in the business coverage area, which includes the territory from Marco to Naples and the surrounding area.
The “More” part of the equation includes:
- Designing unique “florals” for destination weddings.
- Bella! Blooms, a program that schedules deliveries, at no charge, of fresh flower arrangements on a weekly or monthly basis and anytime in-between. You can also schedule arrangements to be delivered to family and friends on special days throughout the year.
- Bella! Flower Socials, which the business holds regularly, but they’re also ideal for private parties. The festive gatherings bring people together to wine and design, while creating one-of-a-kind arrangements. They can be customized to include sessions for children.
- Serving as a site for community events, such as fundraisers.
Suggestions on additions to the “More” offerings are welcome, said Jefferies, who became the business owner in August and is fairly new to the island.
“We would love that,” she said. “I don’t know what people want so we’re trying to figure out what that ‘and more” is. Whether it’s classes, having the products of local craftspeople in here, we don’t know.”
The change in ownership was accompanied by a name change. The business had been known as Bella Florals by Theresa under the previous owner, Theresa Chambers, who founded the shop in 2016.
Jefferies brought a solid background of experience and success to the business, after two decades as owner of Floral Expressions in Stamford, Conn. She founded the business after graduating from Pace University in New York City and grew it to include two locations and annual sales of more than $1 million. After selling the business in 2008, she moved to Naples, where her parents reside, in 2014.
Re-entering the floral business wasn’t on her mind. She was working as an event coordinator at Bayfront of Naples when she heard, in July, that Chambers was interested in selling the business.
“I’d never really been to Marco before,” she said. “I came here, not with the intention of buying it, but when I walked in, I said, ‘Oh, this is it, feels like it could be home.’ The reason I jumped in here is I just think it’s a different niche, it’s a different market, with the hotels, a lot of destination weddings. Plus, we are not that cookie-cutter type of flower shop. We do unique design, unique flowers, not the typical ‘round mound.’’
Jefferies has since joined the Newcomers Club and the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce and begun renting a condo on the island so she can be just minutes away during the week should a customer have an emergency during the week.
“On our voicemail, it says, ‘If we’re not here, call my cell phone,’” she said. “If you forget something, I’ll run over here. I live three minutes away. Especially with the hotels and the conventions, sometimes things are last minute.”
As she spoke, the business’s mascot, a friendly white Pekingese named Nutmeg, remained close by. Nearby, at the checkout counter, Jen Graere, was engrossed in business on the phone. Not present was floral designer Bjenana Ninkovic, who has been with the business since it opened.
“I’m really enjoying the Marco community and the tight-knit environment that everybody helps each other out,” said Jefferies.
Bella Florals and More and its neighbor, Miranda’s Hairworld, will hold a joint grand opening block party from 5 PM to 8 PM, January 17 and the public is invited. There will be refreshments, appetizers and live music by Harold Antoine.
Bella Florals is located at 9 Front Street. For more information, visit www.bfandmore.com or call 239-316-2373.