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Sourcing and shopping local for Valentine's Day felt in small town Montana

'When someone calls here, I know the friend they’re sending flowers to, I know the wife that just had surgery. I like that connection.'
Posted at 8:39 AM, Feb 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-15 10:39:38-05

Vera's Gardenin in Columbus experienced a busy Valentine's Day morning when the store had to stop taking flower orders by 10:30 a.m., just an hour and a half after opening.

“We’ve actually been finding that more people are kind of buying flowers for their granddaughters (and) their daughters," said Jessica Nick, the owner of the flower, plant, gift, and coffee shop.

The staff said the store, stocked with locally and ethically sourced products, does more than simply serve the needs of holiday celebrations.

“There’s all these people that live, like, out in surrounding areas like the country-people that need more … stuff like this where you can come and have coffee, sit down and chat, catch up," said Bailey Ulsh, who works as a barista and florist at Vera's.

The store's emphasis on selling local products is said by customers to be a reason to return. Some customers said they even believe that going to nearby towns would break an unspoken Columbus code of conduct.

“You can go to that Billings and do that stuff, but we’ll buy it here," said Chris Warren, who was picking up flowers for his daughter.

The store's owner said, however, it's about more than where customers are spending their money.

"When someone calls here, I know the friend they’re sending flowers to, I know the wife that just had surgery. I like that connection," said Nick.