Julie Hollis has provided residents of Geist with beautiful floral blooms for more than 24 years. She opened Julie’s Flowers of Geist in 1997 as a stay-at-home mom.
“I wanted to do something where I could be available for my kids, but also express myself creatively,” Hollis says. “I started with weddings and events, and it just progressed throughout the years. As I had more time become available, I was able to pivot and change the dynamics of the business.”
The business expanded to customized local floral deliveries, corporate events, and assisted do-it-yourself parties.
“Before the COVID outbreak, we would have up to 35 people at the gallery,” Hollis says. “Everyone would have wine and play around with the flowers, creating their bouquets. Unfortunately, we had to stop those for a while due to the pandemic.”
While government-mandated shutdowns halted many businesses, Hollis found hers thriving.
“We ended up focusing more on our daily floral deliveries,” Hollis says. “We visited more Geist homes this past year than we had in the previous 24.”
As a nine-year cancer survivor, Hollis knew from the beginning that she was at a high risk for COVID, but still pushed her business forward.
“Like everyone else, we had to pivot,” Hollis says. “We were one of only three florists in Indianapolis open for business. People still needed to connect, even if they weren’t in person for birthdays and holidays. We took our floral design to a new level.”
Hollis procures her flowers from local farmers and local wholesalers.
“We specialize in a quality product that is uniquely designed,” Hollis says. “We’re not like a big online service. We try to give non-pedestrian flowers to people that are specially created for them. Customers get twice as many flowers that are nicer than if they ordered from an online service. That’s one of the things people love about us.”
Hollis also started a glass vase recycling program, to focus cost on flowers during the shutdown.
“Due to the shutdown, there was a shortage in glass,” Hollis says. “We created a program where customers could bring in their old vases to be reused. That way, we could spend more on flowers, and they got a great value for their money.”
Hollis feels grateful for community support at a time when many businesses have suffered.
“I’ve lived in this community a long time, and I love my community,” Hollis says. “When someone calls for a fundraiser, they don’t go to the big company. They come to us small people because they know we live and work here, too. We care, and we are a physical part of this community.”
Word of mouth has helped grow the business through the years.
“Most people hear about us because someone used us to send them flowers,” Hollis says. “They love seeing something we’ve picked out at a local floral farm.”
Julie’s Flowers of Geist is located at 7752 Fall Creek Drive in Indianapolis. For more information, call 317-418-4546 or visit juliesflowers.com.
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