Down to Earth grows into new location
October 2, 2008 · Updated 6:32 PM
SNOQUALMIE - With creamy pistachio-colored walls and a chandelier hanging in chic contrast to the old unfinished ceiling, it's hard to imagine that Down to Earth's new store used to be a bicycle shop.
The family-owned business now located at 38843 S.E. Newton St., the former home of Singletrack Cycles, is still Snoqualmie's only florist.
"It was completely gutted when we looked at it, but we liked the open look," owner Maggi Whitaker said. After scraping years of old glue off the floor among other remodeling tasks, the store cleaned up nicely.
Down to Earth still offers the same detail-oriented full service flower arrangements for every imaginable event, but also has a vastly expanded inventory of gifts.
Potted plants, planters, vases, gardening supplies, lotions, soaps, gift wrap, candles, fancy letter openers, baby gifts, art-even bunny bookends are festooned about the shop and on antique tables and cabinets that are also for sale.
"We made the decision that everything would be for sale so we can replace what we sell and mix up the look," said Maggi's daughter, Ann Marie Whitaker.
The new shop has room for an extended line of cards and gifts including an impressive selection of candles. French-milled soaps shaped like piggies, birds and other fun shapes smell amazing and come in fabulous little boxes.
"We have new things coming in all the time ... more home items and we want to do more gardening accessories," Maggi said.
Down to Earth opened five years ago two blocks down the street in a cozy storefront at 8010 Railroad Ave. S.E., but quickly grew out of the space-especially in the floral work area. Now the creative juices of the Whitakers, along with longtime floral designer Kathy White can run rampant at the shop's spacious work bench. Down to Earth's new walk-in cooler allows it to carry a much larger stock of flowers. The shop gets new flowers three to six times a week and can order anything customers desire.
Ann Marie, who also coordinates wedding flower orders, said she tries to do only one wedding per weekend in order to devote lots of care to each project. "We have great customers," she said while working on a bridal bouquet last week.
"That's what makes it all worthwhile," said White, who has more than 20 years of experience in the floral industry and loves her job "because it's creative and we make a lot of people's day."
Maggi was an administrator at Mountain View School (now Saint Joseph's) when she took her first flower class.
"I decided it would be something the community would enjoy having-fresh flowers right in town," she said. Six months later, her daughter Ann Marie joined the family business. "It's wonderful. We're a good team," said Maggi, who's husband Bill is also in on the business, though behind the scenes. The Whitakers have lived in Snoqualmie for 30 years.
Down to Earth won't hold a grand re-opening event but will be celebrating their new digs throughout September.
* Down to Earth is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information call (425) 831-1772 or visit the store online at www.snoqualmieflowers.com.