Sara Stossel is convinced she’s found her life’s calling.
The 32-year-old Southmont resident has been the owner of Schrader Flower Shop, 510 Vine St. in downtown Johnstown, since December 2011, and it’s a venture that has allowed her to take her love of flowers and turn it into a business.
“I think I’ll be designing until my fingers can’t design anymore,” Stossel said.
Stossel’s foray into the flower business started in 2009, when she was looking to pick up a part-time job.
“I saw an ad in the newspaper that Schrader’s was looking for a part-time florist with experience necessary,” she said. “I had no training, but I decided to give it a shot.”
When Stossel went in for the interview with then-owner Mary Ann Grabish, she was told to go to the cooler, pick out some flowers and make an arrangement.
“I had never seen so many beautiful flowers in one place,” the 1999 Northern Cambria High School graduate said.
Stossel got the job and spent the next two years learning as much as she could about the business and floral design.
Then after 35 years, Grabish decided to retire and sell the business.
“I started to wonder if I could do it and buy the shop,” Stossel said. “I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It just felt like I was at the right place at the right time and it was meant to be.”
After Stossel took over the business she set out to give it a more updated feel and wanted to breathe new life into it.
“I like to tell people we’re still doing the traditional but I’m also doing modern and unique designs. I’m taking a new twist on older designs,” she said.
The shop offers an array of fresh flowers to fit any occasion as well plant and dish gardens. There are also custom made fruit and goodie baskets, balloons and stuffed animals.
“Business is great and it’s growing as far as I can see. I’m still learning, but it’s working out well,” Stossel said. “All the regulars are still faithful to me and I’m working on building more personal relationships with customers.”
All the day-to-day operations from ordering, processing, designing, and packaging flowers and arrangements is handled by Stossel along with volunteer help from her mother, Robyn Penatzer.
“My mom loves flowers just as much as I do. She’s my right-hand man and a great help,” Stossel said.
Stossel employes a delivery driver as well as seasonal help for busy holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
As for what the future holds, Stossel is hoping to continue to grow the business by increasing wedding and funeral work and at some point add two or three full-time employees.
She also hopes to relocate into a newer building.
“I want to stay in the downtown Johnstown area,” Stossel said. “This shop has been a downtown staple since the early 1900s, and I don’t want to move it.”
One of Stossel’s favorite things to do, if she’s able to get away from the shop for a little bit, is to deliver flowers, because she loves seeing people’s expressions when they receive their arrangement.
“I take a lot of pride in my work. I want everything to be beautiful,” she said.
Shop hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
To order flowers, call 536-7508 or go to www.schraderflowershop.com or www.schraderflowers.com.
Like the shop on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Schrader-FlowerShop/333501486675223.
Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/KellyUrban25.