Meet Your Good Neighbor Front Porch Series: Promises Floral and Gift Studio
To be a florist, Sharyl LaBelle has learned, is to sometimes be a therapist.
LaBelle, owner of Promises Floral and Gift Studio in Middleton, is there for her clients on the most important of days, offering support, advice and the perfect bouquet.
“I love being in on the surprise,” she said. “When a guy comes in and says, ‘I need some flowers because I’m going to propose to my girlfriend tonight,’ I’m so excited. I hope he tells me how it went.”
LaBelle is also there on the most difficult of days, ready with her flowers and her heart. Sometimes, the moment is simply too much, even for a florist with decades of experience.
“I’ve had to step away from my designing at times,” she said, recalling past tragic circumstances. “I’ve thought, ‘I need a little breather because this one is getting hard to figure out.’”
LaBelle always comes back to her floral shears. She says she absolutely loves operating her small flower business on Allen Boulevard, because she knows the work she does here matters.
“I’m the little conduit in between,” she said. “Bridging the love and the care.”
LaBelle began working in the floral industry in the early ’90s after she graduated from college. She stepped away from the industry to raise her children before returning and opening her shop in 2012. She first had a location on the west side of Madison, before moving to Middleton in 2018.
“I opened (the business) from scratch,” she said. “I wanted to be able to do my own thing and build it from the start. It’s been a fun adventure — it was very scary to start, but it’s been great to know I’ve built this thing.”
The business is currently providing no-contact deliveries. It contacts recipients via phone call or text message to make sure the delivery time will work.
“We’ll place the flowers on the front porch and send you a text to retrieve them when we have delivered them,” LaBelle said. “That way, we won’t have direct contact.”
The shop is open for walk-in service and it also offers curbside pickup.
“We’ll bring the flowers out to your vehicle,” she said. “We’re working to meet everybody’s needs the best that we can, as safely as we can.”
The pandemic has changed life dramatically for so many and LaBelle sees those changes every day. Last spring, there were brides who had to cancel or postpone their weddings. As the months passed, older adults in assisted living centers spent birthdays and holidays separated from their families. Days of grief came for families who were unable to gather for a funeral.
LaBelle helped her customers with all of these circumstances, crafting their arrangements and helping them find the perfect words for the cards, when none would come.
“Most people don’t know how to say what they are trying to convey,” said LaBelle, who asks her customers questions, listens and takes careful notes.
“I’ll say, ‘let me read this back to you, what do we need to adjust?’”
In LaBelle’s shop, the floral orders for happy occasions far outnumber the sad ones. But she understands the significance of every order.
Sometimes, LaBelle delivers arrangements to patients in hospice care.
“My thought is, this might be the last thing they see, as they transition to what happens next,” she said. “Those flowers are going to be the last thing they see. Those flowers are going to be the last thing they smell. I don’t take that lightly. I take that very seriously.”
LaBelle said she knows in her heart that she is meant to be a florist.
“It’s a calling,” she said. “I got into this because I loved creating, and the flowers and the design, but as I’ve learned along the way, it’s so much more than that.”
About Promises Floral and Gift Studio
2506 Allen Blvd, Middleton, WI 53562
Hours: Open daily but hours vary; check the shop’s Google listing for the latest information.