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Sherri Richards, Published July 06 2010

New Fargo floral shop specializes in native arrangements

Ten years ago, Kimberly Hess had never put a flower in a vase.

That’s when she started growing cut flowers on her farm north of Halstad, Minn. In 2003, Hess started arranging her blooms. Her first customer was the Hotel Donaldson in downtown Fargo.

Now, she’s opening her own flower shop. Prairie Petals, in downtown Fargo, will specialize in arrangements featuring twigs, dried brush and locally cultivated flowers, such as peonies, yarrow and coneflowers. It will also sell herbs, microgreens and seasonal produce.

“I want it to be a place where you can find something unique that is value-added, not excessively burdensome on the environment,” Hess said.

The shop, scheduled to open July 12, is on NP Avenue next to Drunken Noodle and Wasabi Sushi, restaurants co-owned by David Scheer and his son-in-law, Thamrong “Keng” Dechawuth.

Hess approached them about a possible business relationship. Her passion convinced Scheer to partner with her and remodel the space.

“She just likes to grow things,” Scheer said. “She just bubbles over at the thought she’s going to make this work.”

Hess did the Hotel Donaldson’s arrangements for a year and a half and has been the florist for several weddings, conventions and parties. She has no professional training in floral arrangement.

“For me, it’s all about the texture, the shape and the color,” she said.

Sandy Knoll of Fargo has been one of Hess’ clients since hiring her for her daughter’s 2005 wedding.

“We had it at the country club, and they said it was one of the prettiest weddings they’d seen, with the flowers,” Knoll said. “I like that she uses natural plants. There’s nothing artificial about it.”

Hess’ farmland includes a 3½-acre plot of organic growing ground and 150 acres of prairie grasses and wildflowers planted 20 years ago as part of Reinvest in Minnesota, a critical habitat match program.

“I have all of that to pick from,” Hess said.

She will purchase flowers from other local growers. Because the blooms aren’t picked and shipped from another continent, they will last longer, Hess said.

She will carry some commercial flowers in the winter, but they will be arranged differently, she said. For example, a Valentine’s bouquet could be red roses mixed with twigs.

Customers can bring in their own vases or rent and return showier containers. She’ll arrange some bouquets in Mason jars or thrift-store finds.

“I want people to get the most for their money,” she said. “It’s not about selling the most expensive flower; it’s about selling the right one.”

Business profile

Prairie Petals


Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556