Meet Our April Featured Business: Floret
This month our featured business is Floret, a Somesville florist and one of the newest retailers in Mount Desert. Beth Renault, who owns and operates Floret, is a trained Landscape and Horticultural Designer with a degree from the University of Maine. Having worked as a nursery manager and with a landscaping crew, in 2000 Beth transitioned into estate gardening. It was in this role, helping her client families shape lifelong memories through flowers, that Beth found a meaningful application of her skill and interest.
Collaborating with client families to design table settings and floral arrangements afforded Beth a degree of creative freedom that she enjoyed. Eventually, she started taking on side jobs providing flower design for weddings around MDI, in some cases using flowers she had grown herself. As her confidence grew, Beth saw an opening for her to establish a presence for her unique approach and vision as a year-round florist.
When Beth and her husband Joe bought the old T.A. McIntire Paint building in Somesville, it had been rezoned to residential use, so their first task was to convince the Town’s Planning Board to revert the lot to commercial use. Once that hurdle was cleared, Beth, Joe, and their family members began digging into the project of rehabilitating the building in March 2017. Part of the building was still full of used paint cans and their fumes had saturated the space. From the look and smell, they expected to be tearing it down and rebuilding, but were pleasantly surprised to find that the structure was sound.
With both Beth and Joe working other jobs, it took the remainder of that spring, the entire summer, and much of the fall before the renovation project was complete. The family’s efforts bore fruit when Floret opened its doors for the first time on Small Business Saturday in November 2017. The next month Beth left her estate gardening job and officially embarked on her new journey as an entrepreneur.
During the summer of 2017, before Beth opened Floret, she made arrangements with a couple of Northeast Harbor storefronts to sell flower arrangements on her behalf through a consignment arrangement. The connections she made with generous fellow merchants helped shape her strategy in launching Floret. From the first day in her own shop, Beth intended for her space to support the community the same way that the community supported her.
Walking in the door of Floret it’s hard not to appreciate the fragrance and beauty of the flowers on hand. It’s also hard to miss the abundance of non-floral items thoughtfully arranged throughout the space. Beth, Joe, and their kids have done a great job renovating the building, providing spots for upwards of a dozen other vendors offering handmade items such as aprons and hats, pillows, jewelry, and trays. Floret also has a shelf space set aside for products made by Beth’s friend Jennifer May of Sage Moon Apothecary.
On Friday afternoons this winter, Floret has been home to the Healthy Acadia’s FarmDrop and the Live Market, organized by A Climate to Thrive, where community members place advance orders with local farms to pick up at Beth’s shop. As she heads into her first full summer season, Beth is capitalizing on these mutually supportive relationships, as well as tapping some local home gardeners to grow on her behalf. She strives to offer as many native species as possible and utilizing the talent pool on the Island during the summer will allow her to engage some of her customers as suppliers.
The next time you have friends coming for dinner or you’re just looking to add some color to your home, Floret is at your disposal. From simple bouquets to coordinated place settings and table design, stop in to the Somesville shop to see all Beth has to offer. You won’t be disappointed!