7 Years of Bringing Joy and Self Fulfillment, Ode to St. Valentine

Michelle Stenson

Posted on January 30 2020

7 Years of Bringing Joy and Self Fulfillment, Ode to St. Valentine

Seven years, amazingly seven years, how far I have come. Thinking back to this time in 2013 I would have been completely covered in white paint, of course I chose the shade called Marshmallow, I was this strange form of zombie, working tirelessly shaping my shop into something magical out of seemingly nothing. I started with $6000 and all of my fixtures were either shipping pallets and electrical spools, my Dad’s workbench, his table saw. The splurge at the time was my three workbenches built by my favorite cousin Brad who came in after his work day. We worked so late into the night, City and Colour playing, I had endless energy and deep joy in all the tasks that lay ahead of me and I deeply felt that he shared this joy with me. This period of time was the only time that I would literally jump out of bed and run to the shop to get to work, those who know me know that I like to sleep in! I remember the first time it rained, I was worried about my shop getting wet, so silly to think about that, but the feeling was very real.

There were other helpers too, my girlfriend Robyn helped me paint the wooden flowers that used to be around my sign on the outside of the shop, my friend Megan who did endless errands and supply runs. Then there was my brother, he and I had a pretty long history of being awful to each other but at this time, I could feel that he truly thought I was the cat’s pajamas, he had so much pride in who I was becoming. He had restrictive mobility issues at the time so I had to be creative in finding jobs for him to do so he would feel like he was making a contribution. He painted things, sorted things, ordered the pizza and we discussed our Dad… a lot, what he must of thought about the whole thing, he would have loved everything. Especially our hidden secret, there was an old alarm panel beside the front door, when I took it down and it revealed a pretty good size hole. Considering how much pizza we had been eating, it only seemed fitting that I would use a part of a pizza box to add structure when I patched the hole, before we closed it up we placed one of my Dad’s business card behind the patch for good luck.

Added to the excitement of opening was the deadline I set for myself, I really needed to get a flow of cash coming in and I did not want to miss Valentine’s day. Even though I had already gone through 20 years of Valentine days at that point…this one…this was mine. It was pretty risky opening that close to the 14th considering I deal in fresh product and really the only people who knew about me were friends and family or whoever got stuck talking to me out in the world. I remember my very first customer Chris, who I contact every year to thank him for being my first sale. I purchased enough product and I was surprised with how busy it was, I think I worked until 2 am the night before, my friend Robyn helped me with all the wrapping and gave me continual encouragement.

The thing that is different about Chartreuse is that I offer custom and meaningful products and service. When you come to my shop I want to know the whole story, how you found me, what made you choose Chartreuse, what your ideas are regarding the experience you want to both have and create for someone else through the purchase of flowers. I need to know the why, the when, the travelling the flowers will do between my shop and the recipient so that I can ensure that you get exactly what you need. A great scenario of why I work like this is the purchase of a single rose, it could be that you simply want to give a single rose or it could be that you want to bring it to your car, break off the stem and try to pin it on your jacket. There is a specific presentation for that occasion, it must be made into a boutonniere which includes me wiring and taping it properly, so that it will have lasting quality and bring joy to the wearer. Another such scenario is the purchase of a flowering plant, perhaps you are taking it to the cemetery for your mother, I know from my past 27 years in the business that this will bring frustration when people realize that have no shovel or water once they get there. I keep a small spare shovel on hand for just that occasion. The thing most people don’t realize is that buying and giving flowers is more meaningful for the person giving than the person receiving, by focusing on this I can ensure that the experience will be both meaningful and memorable. By only offering the best quality blooms I can also ensure that the experience will exceed expectations every time.

So now, its Valentine’s day again, it really fills me with joy and pride when this time of year comes along. I especially love when people come to me for their first flower buying experience so I can make it that much more special. You may have to wait a little longer than your average grab coffee in a drive through but you will leave with something perfect for you to give and for your sweetheart to receive. We support love in all its many shapes and sizes. Chartreuse is a one stop shop, we will have all the flowers, roses, handmade greeting cards and of course chocolate….there must always be chocolate. Hairy and Minnie the shop dogs and myself are looking forward to serving you, in shop, by phone or through our online shop.



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