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Thinking outside the vase

Friends and former co-workers come together to start a new business on Marshall’s Main Street

October 18, 2010
By Jenny Kirk

MARSHALL - A timely phone call cemented a friendship and a new business venture for Kim Jorgenson and Christine Lehman, new owners of Blue Green, a unique flower shop with a sewing alteration business in the back.

"Everything just fell into place," said Lehman, who first opened Alterations and Sew On on Sept. 1, 2009, at the Purple Iris Yarn Shop. "Kim and I worked together for five years at Bofferding Flower Shop. We were the floral designers. We had always talked about doing a shop together."

Lehman left Bofferding's two years ago when friends asked her to help manage Carrow's Cleaners.

Article Photos

Photo by Jenny Kirk
After working with each other at Bofferding’s for five years, Christina Lehman, left, and Kim Jorgenson have joined together to open Blue Green, an environmentally friendly floral shop with an alteration business in the back.

"I was there six months and totally hated the job," Lehman said. "But it was there that I realized that we needed an alteration shop in town."

Things went well for Lehman at the Purple Iris, but she said she outgrew the location within four months. So she started looking for a new shop. Shortly after, Lehman learned that Bofferding's was planning to close.

"I asked Kimberly what she was going to do," Lehman said. "She had a few things in mind, like working at Walmart or Menards or something. But I told her she was way too talented and that she'd waste away. I told her she needed to open a flower shop."

A few months later, Lehman was an hour away from signing a lease on a different location for her business when Jorgenson called to say she was ready.

"Blue Green is Kimberly's baby," Lehman said. "But we're back together again and we'll help each other out."

The tandem decided on the name Blue Green as a way of expressing their unity and expectations for their shop.

"Christine is an avid collector of anything blue, but especially the cobalt color," Jorgenson said. "I'm an avid collector of anything that is green, like Depression (glass) and jadeite. Blue Green just kind of stuck."

"It's also all about the environment. The blue symbolizes the sky and air and the green is for the grass and green plants. It was a way of bringing it all together."

In addition to selling items like cards, candy, picture frames and antique furniture, Blue Green will feature a local artist every three weeks.

"Being an artist in trade, I want the artist's Green Door Gallery to be super successful," Jorgenson said. "It's going to be cool. There is so much talent in Marshall. Laura Guza-Antony is our first artist."

Almost all the woodwork and materials in the shop are recycled, refurbished or redone, Jorgenson said.

"Brad Bofferding made our walk-in freezer," Jorgenson said. "And Tom Bofferding made our concrete countertop, which is amazing. He did such a wonderful job. I'm really proud of that."

Panels for below the countertop were purchased at the Habitat for Humanity store (Re-Store)."

With her connections, Jorgenson was able to secure some framed glass windows from the old Marshall Middle School.

"The only new things we purchased were the till and the lights above the counter," Jorgenson said. "We did all the mosaics in the store ourselves."

An elegant display of vases line the shelves of a case that was also refinished. The new owners strained, glazed, and put in glass shelving before adding crown molding and wiring for lights.

At the heart of the business will be the floral arrangements.

"I'll have any type of floral arrangements, for weddings, funerals, anniversaries, centerpieces or anything that entails any type of flower or plant," Jorgenson said. "We like to think outside the vase. I just want to stay with the real flowers, but I do have some options to get silk flowers."

Since its opening Oct. 4 - the same day Bofferding's officially closed - the shop has had quite a few customers.

"We've had a great response so far," Jorgenson said. "It has been busy every day. It's exciting."



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