By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer
BENSALEM – Karen Laich likes flowers so much, her employees tease her that if she were looking at dresses, she’d likely buy one with a floral motif.
“I enjoy them in any setting – they are beautiful,” said Laich, owner of Flower Girl Florist, located in the Showcase Plaza on Street Road.
A second generation florist, Laich was 10 years old when she first started working with flowers after school in a shop her father owned.
She said her fondness for flowers never fades. “The nice thing about this business is, it is four seasons. It’s ever-changing.”
A member of St. Ephrem Parish, Laich sees a link between flowers and the Catholic faith. “As Catholics, we grow up with flowers,” she said of the roses associated with the Blessed Mother, lilies at Easter and poinsettias at Christmas, to name a few.
“Flowers play an important part in Catholic Church life,” added Laich, who frequently provides the arrangements that grace St. Ephrem’s altar.
Laich is continually amazed by the Creator behind her craft. “How can you not believe in God when you look at the beautiful things in nature and see how pretty they are?”
Whether she’s helping a bride to arrange a wedding bouquet or a grief-stricken family to select flowers for a loved one’s funeral, Laich is amazed by the beauty of the bloom.
And her customers can be as amusing as the flowers are amazing. “We get kids in every once in a while who want to buy something and we’ll help them,” no matter how how much pocket change they might have. “We’ll try to put a little something together for them to give their mom. We’ll make it work.”
And then there’s the elderly client who repeatedly lets it be known that she doesn’t like daisies “because of the saying, ‘pushing up daisies,'” Laich said.
“You do get to know your customers and who likes what. We go through the milestones of their life. We don’t just want to sell them flowers – we want to be their friend.”
Whether the flower consultation is over the telephone or in person at her store, Laich knows she’s done her job well when a customer says, “You made that easy.”
Flower Girl Florist also contains a gift shop filled with candles, balloons, greeting cards and much more.
Raised in Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Warminster, Laich is the oldest of Karen and the late Walter Streahle’s seven children. A 1968 alumna of Nativity of Our Lord School, she attended Archbishop Wood Catholic High School for Girls and graduated from William Tennent High School, also in Warminster, in 1972.
Her husband Paul, a retired technician, helps with the business, delivering flowers and performing manual labor. Their two children, Andrew, 24, and Elizabeth, 21, have also pitched in at the shop.
In her business dealings, Laich strives to mimic the work ethic of her late father, who from the early 1960s until the mid-1980s operated Warminster Tree House.
As for Laich, she won’t claim any one flower as her favorite – “I like them all” – but she is partial to pink.
That may have something to do with the first time she remembers being on the receiving end of the flower business: “My father gave me 16 pink roses for my 16th birthday.”
For more information, call (215) 638-2442, visit the Web site, flowergirlflorist.com or stop by the shop at 2832 Street Road, Bensalem, PA 19020.
CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or firstname.lastname@example.org.