By Lonnie Adamson General Manager/Editor
October 11, 2013
PICKENS — Staff and ownership of Flowers by Virginia combine to provide 42 years of experience in floral retail and event services from a new Pickens location.
Owner Clark Purbaugh will show off his new location and talk about his company’s unique approach on Friday with a Pickens Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours drop in. Purbaugh is the current chairman of the chamber.
He bought Flowers by Virginia in 2004 after spending decades in the floral design business in the Seattle and Atlanta markets.
Purbaugh said the majority of his experience is in designing for large group functions , weddings and corporate functions. A recent example is the design of a major Greenville Red Cross fund raising event that demanded decorations for the lobby ballrooms and centerpieces on banquet room tables.
It would not be unusual for the events of his specialized work to demand more than 100 plants plus 100 or more centerpieces plus other interior design elements to help tell the story of the event.
Telling the story associated with the function is a focus of Purbaugh’s approach. “It is more than just flowers, but includes saying something about the organization, the theme or the person at the center of the event,” Purbaugh said.
A simple example might be incorporation of personal items into the floral design accompanying a funeral or memorial service, Purbaugh said.
Accomplishing that task demands extreme customer service, attention to detail and knowledge of the client and the products he provides, he said. Good service requires thinking outside the box for top creativity.
It has also required secrecy when serving such clients as Whitney Houston, Bill Gates and Gary Player.
From the Pickens base, Purbaugh and his company continue serving big-name customers in Atlanta and Greenville as well as Pickens County.
“Purchase of Flowers by Virginia was the opportunity of a lifetime,” Purbaugh said. It has allowed him to enjoy a nice community and still provide services to the cities. It has also provide local business opportunities at the growing retirement communities throughout the area.
Flowers by Virginia has operated for several years out of a converted house on Main Street. In recent months Purbaugh has been able to combine forces with Martha Ellenburg and Martha’s Marvelous Munchies. Ellenburg has been operating her bakery from an address on Glassy Mountain Road.
“She makes the greatest artisan breads, cakes and desserts,” Purbaugh said. Marvelous Munchies will share the building, Purbaugh purchased across main Street from Thomas Realty. It was designed as a florist with two coolers and significantly more production space than Purbaugh’s previous location.
He invites the community to the drop-in Friday at 5:30 p.m.