After years of beautiful custom floral arrangements in Westfield, Union Street Flowers creates table centerpieces at Gov. Pence’s inaugural ball
For almost 20 years, Union Street Flowers & Gifts has been the place to go for special occasions or when residents just need a bouquet of flowers. For his Gubernatorial Inaugural Ball last Monday, Gov. Mike Pence turned to the downtown Westfield business for floral arrangements for his important day.
“We were pretty excited when we got the call,” Becky Weiss, owner of Union Street Flowers, said.
Downtown Westfield Association President Anne Poynter, who is also Pence’s sister, recommended the business to Pence’s committee.
“It’s quite an honor for our local florist to have been selected for this prestigious event,” she said. “I knew they could meet the challenges and (then) a broader community would know what great florists they are.”
Interested florists were asked to send a sample to the inaugural ball committee, which selected Union Street Flowers’ design.
“Everyone else had to make our arrangements,” Weiss said.
While the prestige of such an event is great, it did come with a few challenges, including a small budget, short timetable and a sudden curveball. Weiss said there were three small Indiana flower shops selected to do the arrangements and each was asked to provide 60 centerpieces. However, one backed out and the other flower shop in Muncie said it could only do 70 arrangements, leaving Union Street Flowers to fill the remaining order of 112 centerpieces.
To create the arrangements, Union Street sent florist Caren Goodwin and Kristin with a truckload of flowers to JW Marriott where the two made the centerpieces on site. The duo spent almost 12 hours creating two different arrangements – one with hydrangeas and roses and the other of orchids in water – the day before the ball.
“We had a lot of fun,” Kristen said. “It was a different event.”
“This is the biggest thing we’ve done. It’s just an honor for the store,” Goodwin said. “Obama will be calling next for his inauguration.”
The Weiss family then spent two hours placing the centerpieces around the room two hours before the ball began.
“It was like Cinderella. We worked, changed and enjoyed the ball,” Becky said. “I wanted to get all dressed up to be a part of it. We had a great time.”
The younger Weiss had a harder time keeping up.
“I was just really tired. I was going off adrenaline,” Kristen said. “There were so many tables. It was overwhelming; I had to take in the amount of people there.”
The Weisses were particularly proud that their arrangements were placed on the head table and were noticed by the state leader and his family.
“Karen (Pence) was really excited and said she loved them,” Kristen said. “Gov. Pence shook our hands, looked us in the eye and said, ‘Good job.’”
Union Street Flowers & Gifts is a true family affair. Becky’s husband, Dave, opened Westfield Pharmacy in 1981. The Butler graduate then expanded and opened Sheridan Elliott Pharmacy in 1986.
Union Street Flowers & Gifts started in 1994 in a back corner of Westfield Pharmacy. The Weisses heard complaints from residents that there was no florist in Westfield after Carol Brookens sold Westfield Flowers to care for her ailing mother.
“It started with a cooler,” Becky said. “It was called Flowers by Carol to drive on her customer base.”
As the business began to grow, it moved from a corner into its own side of the pharmacy building. The business grew again as Kristen, who had worked in the shop since she was 13 years old, joined the staff after her college graduation.
“I was thrilled Kristin called us from Purdue and said, ‘I want to join the business,’” Becky said.
“I really like weddings and special events. I learned design skills from previous staff members through hands-on learning. I also did 10 years of floriculture in 4-H,” Kristen said. “I like to hang out with my mom, we’re best friends.”
Union Street Flowers & Gifts, 101 S. Union St., specializes in weddings, celebrations of life, special events, home décor and silk floral arrangements. Becky said the store delivered countywide and had the ability to send flowers anywhere in the world with telefora. For more information, call 867-2525 or visit www.unionstreetflowers.com.
Meet Becky and Kristen Weiss
Age: Becky-52, Kristen-22
Residence: Westfield, the two don’t share a house anymore but are next door neighbors.
Birthplace: Both were born at Riverview Hospital in Noblesville.
Education: Both spent 12 years in Westfield Washington Schools and graduated from Westfield High School. However, Becky graduated from Indiana University and Kristen went to Purdue University and graduated in May 2012.
Hobbies: Becky likes to read and cook while Kristen enjoys shopping, watching TV and being with friends.
Favorite part of the flower business: Kristen really likes the chaotic times around holidays and doing wedding arrangements. Becky hates the holiday rush but likes dealing with people and making those relationships with customers.
Personal quote: “God is in control and he takes care of us. He walks beside us, he walks in front of us and he walks behind us. He is always there for us,” Becky said. Kristen said her motto is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”