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Captiva Blooms opens in Chadwick’s Square

By Staff | Feb 11, 2010

Ruth Thompson, manager and lead floral designer of Captiva Blooms.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, South Seas Island Resort’s brand new floral shop, Captiva Blooms, has unfurled its petals and is now open for business.

The store, located in Chadwick’s Square, opened officially last Saturday under lead designer and manager Ruth Thompson – formerly South Seas’ executive office manager.

“When I lived in Pennsylvania, I had a flower arranging business called Thompson’s Treasures and when I came to Florida four years ago, I thought about getting into that kind of business again,” Thompson said, adding that her career plans changed when she came across the executive office manager position at South Seas.

But as luck – or destiny – would have it, the resort decided to open a flower shop and managing director Rick Hayduk knew that Thompson not only had 20 years of experience, but an intense passion for floral design.

“I really enjoyed my job in the executive office and working for Rick, but he is behind me 100 percent. This is my calling,” Thompson said.

South Seas human resources recruiter Michelle Findlay helps Thompson prepare roses for Valentine’s Day.

So why a flower shop at South Seas?

“We have a lot weddings coming into the resort and all of the flowers were being made off property, so we wanted to open something here to service the weddings, our owners and our guests for their birthdays, parties, holidays and anniversaries,” Thompson said.

“We’ll have fresh floral arrangements, plants and a variety of things – everything from beachy to gardeny to more elegant. We’ll also have seasonal plants, like poinsettias at Christmas and mums in the fall. But we’re not only catering to the guests of South Seas Island Resort, but also the people of Captiva,” she added.

Thompson traces her love of flowers back to her early childhood. She says her favorite flower is the trillium, also known as skunk cabbage, because it brings back memories of those early days.

“As a little girl, I remember going up into the hills of Western Pennsylvania, playing for hours with my brothers and sisters and, in the springtime, sitting and arranging all the trilliums, mayflowers and wildflowers,” Thompson said.

Thompson talks to Penny Pollack of Longboat Key, foreground, and Sue Miller of Captiva.

But Thompson recalls another story that might also play into her love – and what some might call her destiny – for flowers.

Thompson is half-Lithuanian, and she remembers meeting a Lithuanian woman one day who had just returned from a trip to the northern European country. The two got to talking and when they exchanged names, the woman said, “Oh, Ruta!”

“I said, ‘Is that my name in Lithuanian? What does it mean?’ And the woman said, ‘Flower!'” Thompson recalled, noting that, according to the woman, every bride in Lithuania carries the ruta flower.

In addition to bridal bouquets, seasonal blooms and unique floral designs, Captiva Blooms carries small gifts such as notecards, candles, jewelry and balloons.

‘Though Captiva Blooms didn’t officially open until last Saturday, Thompson was busy filling orders and fielding questions from curious browsers who just couldn’t resist taking a peek into the store.

Thompson presents her finished tropical arrangement, an assortment of plants and flowers, including ginger, Bells of Ireland, bird of paradise, Gerber daisies, horsetails and wire accents.

“I think this is just wonderful. I’ll definitely be a customer in the future,” said Captiva resident Sue Miller.

And speaking of the future, Thompson says there might be a special flower arranging class, as part of South Seas’ “GO!” series of activities and classes, offered to guests.

But at present, Thompson has her sights set on Valentine’s Day – so if you’re looking for a unique gift or floral arrangement for that special someone, pay a visit to Captiva Blooms in Chadwick’s Square.

Captiva Blooms is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information or to place an order, call (239) 579-1468.

Thompson trims up a newly-delivered bouquet of Gerber daisies.