In the summer of 2018, Janine and Francis Reynolds searched high and low for a business to buy in Squamish, looking for a new challenge and a change of pace.
That fall, the stars aligned when Janine learned that her favourite store, Billies Flower House, was up for sale. This was a business they could get behind; a business that would offer a more flexible work/life balance as they began a new chapter in their careers working together; and, this was a business that would tie them into the community they loved. Impossible, then, not to take a chance and put their own unique stamp on the only brick and mortar flower store in Squamish.
Since then, while keeping to the core business of Billies Flower House, which has made it a success these past 40 plus years, the Reynolds have also made it their own.
“Everybody knows us as a flower shop,” says Janine, of the long-established business on Cleveland Ave. “And yet, we are more than a flower house. Our new motto is: Our house is your house. So, we’re conceptualizing a whole home rather than just the flowers.”
You get the sense that there’s more to Billies than flowers as soon as you walk through the door. While the beautiful flower arrangements may draw you in, there are more treasures to be found inside—plants, unique gifts, cards.
“It is the only store like it in Squamish,” says Janine. “It’s very homey, it’s very comfortable. That was something that drew me to it.”
Needless to say, it’s been a whirlwind of learning the business from the ground up, everything from learning all about flowers—how to order, arrange and deliver— to growing Billies’ reputation for innovative wedding designs as well as expanding the in-store home décor line.
Since taking the helm, Janine has embraced buying unique and local items to showcase in the store. She is committed to supporting local artisans whether that’s locally made soap or candles or handmade jewellery, crafted in the Sea to Sky corridor.
“I look at it as a market within a shop,” she says.
“We have lots of different people who create their goods in the corridor and we sell products for them.”
She is interested in natural products, in the aesthetic of the products and in the story behind the products.
Showcasing local talent is all part of her commitment to lowering the carbon footprint at Billies Flower House, a cause that is near and dear to her heart.
To that end, Billies has almost entirely eliminated non-biodegradable foam from the flower arrangements, using chicken wire and tape instead.
“We are looking at doing more down the line to create less environmental impact,” she vows. “We are trying to do as much as we can in our store to create less.”
It has been a busy time but ultimately worth the hard work and sacrifices.
Perhaps the biggest thing Janine and Francis have learned along the way is how much their staff care about the business and how much they want to make a positive impact on their customers as they work with people through some of life’s biggest milestones—births, deaths, marriages.
Flowers are often at the heart of these events.
“We all take it very seriously — making people happy,” she says.
Billies Flower House has been a local institution since 1973, a stalwart of the downtown core and another reason to explore the heart of Squamish. If you want to order a beautiful bouquet, visit the website.