ARCADIA, Wis. – Ella Dorn didn’t like seeing the former Briar Patch Gift & Floral shop north of Arcadia sitting empty for the past 2½ years.
She and her husband, Don, have done something about that, by buying the property and opening their own Ella’s Florals & More shop there.
The new business opened Oct. 16 and sells fresh-cut and silk flowers, plants, gifts and home decor. It also sells bottles of wine, including some from Elmaro Vineyard winery near Trempealeau; Amish and other kinds of candy; candy bouquets; dip, soup and dessert mixes; mylar and latex balloons and memorial stones.
The Dorns plan to begin offering tuxedo rentals in early 2018 and to begin selling ice cream next spring. “We’ve had a lot of people ask for that,” Ella said of tuxedo rentals, which Briar Patch Gift & Floral also had provided.
Ella had worked part time at Briar Patch Gift & Floral for more than a decade before owners Chris and Roger Derrickson retired and closed the shop in 2015. The Derricksons had started the business in 2000, in the building they constructed two miles north of Arcadia. Roger Derrickson also retired in 2005 as Arcadia School District superintendent.
“Chris (Derrickson) has been a godsend,” Ella said. “She’s helped so much with getting us up and running. She’s provided a lot of assistance and advice.”
Ella said her four sisters also have provided lots of help with the new business.
Ella was raised on a dairy farm near Whitehall, and Don was raised on a chicken farm near Arcadia.
Dan was a truck driver for 17 years for Gold’n Plump Poultry and its predecessors, before he and Ella began raising chickens for Gold’n Plump. They quit doing that about nine years ago.
Ella worked for the Western Dairyland Head Start program for 21 years, driving a bus and cooking, before she left that job to open Ella’s Florals & More.
“I was ready for a change,” Ella said of starting the new business. “It’s something I’ve always thought about. We just love working with flowers, and I like crafts.”
She has made handcrafted items for more than 30 years, selling them at area craft shows. After two more craft shows this year, Ella plans to sell all of her handcrafted items — silk flower arrangements, yard decorations and home decor — at Ella’s Florals & More.
The shop also carries handmade jewelry, much of it made by relatives.
“I like meeting new people,” Don said of the couple’s shop. “And it’s out here in the country with beautiful scenery.”
“It will change with the season,” Ella said of the gift and handcrafted items on display in the shop, which already has lots of Christmas merchandise for sale such as wreaths, nativity sets, ornaments, signs and other holiday home decor.
So far, most Ella’s Florals & More customers have come from the Arcadia area. ”It was slow here the first couple weeks, but it’s picked up as people found out that we’re here,” Ella said. Delivery service is available.
The shop is open Monday through Saturday. But starting today, it also will be open on Sundays through Dec. 17 for the holiday shopping season. A holiday open house is being held today, and the shop’s grand opening will be Dec. 3.