They say if you love something and are passionate about it, you should be able to do it well enough to make a living off of it.
That’s what Traven Pelletier exhibits at Bloom! Garden Center located at 1885 Baker Road in his day-to-day management of the plant and gift shop in Scio Township just a stone’s throw from the Dexter city limit.
“They’re living beings so they prefer to stay in the ground if possible and be transported as little as possible,” Pelletier said about his plant inventory, maybe it’s more apt to call them temporary tenants awaiting a permanent home elsewhere in the soil of the Dexter area and beyond.
Bloom! stocks its plant inventory from suppliers who grow them in Michigan or surrounding states like Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin. It’s one of the reasons that the retail plant and gift storefront is beginning to survive and thrive off what it gathers from its own roots, rather than rely on the landscaping business that operates with it in tandem.
“They started in this climate so that’s what they want to live in and survive in,” Pelletier said in a matter-of-fact fashion. Southern and western plants arrived stressed from greater travel distances and soon whither a bit because of differences in temperature, soil composition, and even air quality.
The Bloom! center wasn’t always so colorful and well-attended. Back in the 1970s it operated as the Sloan Nursery under the management of the Sloan family, who sold bulk soil and landscaping supplies to a much different local market consisting of more agricultural and fewer residential customers.
Since then the bulk of the land has been gifted to Scio Township to create the Sloan Preserve which is 10.42 acres of nature preserve, which Pelletier says he appreciates — it’s even inspiring, in that such a comprehensive green backdrop is the perfect foundation for what he’s done to the century-old sloan barn.
Those who approach will be immediately struck by how colorful and inviting it is, with rustic landscaping accented by wood and metal-work created with an artistic hand and an eye towards conveying that the man-made building you’re about to step into is a place to celebrate nature.
“It’s a really nice nursery in it’s own right,” Pelletier said, while waving at the custom wood and glass window wall that is itself a striking work of ornamentation and function that all those who enter through the front of the barn will not be able to help appreciating before passing through it deeper into the store
Once inside visitors will find that the high-quality plant inventory is accompanied by frog statues, fountains, water features, fairy gardening items, and many more interesting placements to transform a garden from a simple natural space to one of retreat or repose.
While it’s not exactly close to the Dexter downtown where foot traffic might wind up streaming through the doors just to visit and soak in the atmosphere, Bloom! is doing well where it’s at and the eclectic fairy gardening inventory of woodland creatures, moss bird houses, and frog statues alone is pulling people in.
“It’s just a funky, creative gift shop adorned with our own fixtures, renovated into a beautiful setting done in our own design and we just have a lot of unique pieces that are fun, different and artsy,” Pelletier said. “I think that’s why we’ve grown each year by 15 to 30 percent (in terms of sales) and we’re at this point where the store’s going to be holding it’s own.”
Pelletier also thanked the Dexter Garden Club for their support of his business. Bloom! is a major sponsor of Dexter Garden Club’s “Green Day” yearly event.
Bloom! had it’s season opening on Saturday, April 9 and will have its yearly grand opening celebration sometime in the beginning of May, when spring finally decides to show up once and for all.