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Local Flower Shop Offers An Array Of Gifts
Owner and Florist, Karen Bickford, has been a business owner in Riverbank for many years and custom designs arrangements with freshly cut flowers and plants at her store, Designs by Karen, downtown. News Photos By Virginia Still

There is a local flower shop in downtown Riverbank that offers more than just flowers. Designs by Karen has been in Riverbank since 1999 and after moving to a few different locations, settled in on 3331Santa Fe in 2009 and has been there ever since. Owner, florist Karen Bickford’s first job when she was a teenager was arranging flowers. For several years she gained experience as a florist and used her creativity to build custom unique arrangements which she still offers customers today.

The opportunity presented itself at the right time many years ago which led to the Designs by Karen flower shop in downtown Riverbank.

“I love Riverbank,” stated Bickford. “I really like this downtown area, too; it is a little more quaint. I like knowing my neighbors.”

There are customers that have ordered flowers over the phone for many years and then stop in to the store and are surprised at all the other inventory offered. Several of Bickford’s returning customers are very comfortable with the process of ordering flowers over the phone, knowing the quality and freshness that they will get. For the larger events like weddings and funerals, most customers venture into the store for that personal attention and to have a visual of the final product.

With a presence on Facebook, a website, and applications like Constant Contact and Flower Shop Network, Bickford has good exposure online which is one way technology has helped her business.

There are several items in the flower shop that could be added to a flower arrangement or bouquet and an assortment of gifts that could stand alone.

Along with cut flower arrangements, Designs by Karen offers plants, purses, cards, balloons, frames, and handmade aprons and hats.

There is also a wide variety of jewelry including earrings, necklaces, bracelets, watches, and some sets offered at reasonable prices that are handpicked by Bickford and an employee at gift shows specifically for the shop.

“I have different taste than my employee does so we both pick up different things,” added Bickford.

There are hammered silver hearts with leather necklaces, chunky necklaces with dangling charms, colorful beads, and of course blingy bracelets and watches in a variety of colors.

One thing Bickford would like to remind consumers is to order flowers locally from a flower shop with a physical address. She explained that there are several florists listed online or in the phone book that just take orders and they don’t deliver locally.

“When you call a local floral shop you will find out exactly what they do have in stock and maybe get some other suggestions for your event or holiday or whatever you are actually wanting to send the flowers for,” stated Bickford. “Order from your local flower shop. I think you certainly need to have consistency when you are dealing with a fresh product and know your quality.”

Bickford has a wholesaler that she receives her fresh flowers from three times a week.

A tip to keep fresh flowers alive for several days; she advises to change the water daily and refill with fresh water.

This hot summer season Bickford shared that there are several flowers to choose from for arrangements like roses, chrysanthemums, carnations, Gerber daisies, and lilies that are usually available year round.