314 Wyndhurst Avenue is a virtual paradise in the middle of North Baltimore. For over 15 years at this same location, the florist Mille Fleurs has satisfied clients with an incredible array of beautiful sights and smells. Flower arranging is an art, and one they have certainly mastered. The staff takes great pride in their floral arrangements and they hold their work to the highest standards. More than anything, they want to ensure that their clients enjoy their creations as much as they enjoy making them!
Owner Diane Pappas recently shared with us a little about how she got where she is today, and why she decided Greater Homewood was the perfect place for business.
Tell us a little bit about the history of Mille Fleurs.
Mille Fleurs opened in August 1995 and has been at the same location since. The shop is located at 314 Wyndhurst Ave., in Wyndhurst Station, the site of a former Maryland and Pennsylvania railway house. It was the dream of Diane Pappas and Kathy Quinn, two 40-somethings seeking career changes, who met at Dundalk Community College and completed the 2 year certificate program in Retail Floristry there. Diane and Kathy worked side by side for 15 years until Kathy retired in September 2010.
What is your mission statement?
To provide the highest quality, longest lasting, most unusual flowers and foliages from around the world and to artistically design these flowers in a wide variety of inspired styles. We receive twice weekly direct shipments from growers in Holland as well as garden flowers from a local organic farm. In addition, we shop almost daily at the local wholesale markets, hand selecting only those items that meet our exacting standards. We take extra care to process and handle our flowers properly. We generally sell our flowers in tight bud, so the recipient can enjoy watching all the stages of the blossom’s development over time. We also guarantee our flowers.
To provide unparalleled customer service.
To serve the community. We never sell our older blooms. Instead, they are donated each week to Viva House, a soup kitchen and pantry in Baltimore City. In addition, Mille Fleurs has sponsored teams with the Roland Park Baseball League and supported many functions of the local private and public schools, numerous local churches and church schools and such worthy organizations as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Maryland SPCA, Paul’s Place, Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, Chase Brexton Health Services, Dyslexia Tutoring Program, The Family Tree, Cylburn Arboretum, and The Roland Park Community Foundation. We have also mentored many students from the Park School and Friends School who have chosen to complete their senior work projects at Mille Fleurs.
What inspired you to start this business?
We wanted to bring upscale flowers, artistic design and unparalleled customer service to the greater Baltimore community.
What qualities did you look for when deciding the location of your business?
We wanted a beautiful, quaint, bright and welcoming space.
We wanted to have plenty of free parking and a location convenient for potential clients from both Baltimore City and County-proximity to I 83 was important.
We wanted to be part of a close knit neighborhood and community.
We wanted to be close to our local wholesale markets.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in starting your business? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge was marketing the business and determining what methods actually work. We have tried all available avenues–print advertising, radio, cable TV, direct mail, store signs, coupons, email, press releases etc. Over the years, we have been able to determine what works best for our shop.
What do you love most about having a business in Greater Homewood?
I love the fact that the shop is in a very small specialty shopping center with a lot of character in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It is a real neighborhood where we enjoy seeing residents walking and children playing every day. We have some customers from the neighborhood who have been coming to the shop every week since we opened. We have been able to follow the milestones of their lives through their floral needs and to watch their children grow up through their birthdays, proms, graduations and weddings. Many have even become personal friends and that is awesome.
What do you love most about Greater Homewood?
It is such a beautiful place with lots of green areas and wonderful architecture. I love the fact that it is a complete neighborhood, with residential and shopping areas, libraries, schools and churches.
What prompted you to become a supporter of GHCC?
Community service has always been a large part of how Mille Fleurs has operated.
Why do you believe it’s important for businesses to support a nonprofit like GHCC?
Because of our bond with the neighborhood and our deep gratitude to our long standing loyal customers, we have always supported causes that are near and dear to their hearts. It is our way of thanking and giving back to our clients by helping to enhance the community in which they live.
Mille Fleurs is a beautiful shop inside and out, from the incredible floral arrangements they create to the spirit of service that runs throughout all they do. Their commitment to making the community the best it can be is an inspiring model for all to follow.
Mille Fleurs is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9-5pm and Saturday from 9-3pm. They are open Wednesday by appointment only and are closed on Sundays. For more information on this local favorite, please visit http://www.millefleursinc.com/.
Drop in for a visit, and remember to stop and smell the roses!