Bloom on Broadway: Cape boutique offers more than unique products

Monday, February 4, 2013
Instructor Brandi Ritter leads a paint party on Jan. 23 at Bloom Studio and Gifts, 2121 Broadway in Cape Girardeau. (ADAM VOGLER)

Coordinating paint on canvas while sipping wine with a small group of women is not how Michaelyn Ross first envisioned Tuesday nights at Bloom Studio and Gifts, 2121 Broadway, when she purchased the studio and boutique in February 2011.

Since she began hosting "paint parties" with local paint party instructor Brandi Ritter, business has taken after the boutique's name and bloomed.

"You get to know one another and you become a small community for a few hours," Ritter said. A faithful, fun cliental is what Ross attributes to Bloom's success.

When Ritter approached Ross in the summer of 2011 with the idea of hosting paint parties at the boutique, Ross was immediately on board, she said.

Ritter explained paint parties are more common in larger cities. She attended one in Memphis, Tenn., and wanted to bring the idea to Cape Girardeau.

Tracy Blattner works on her snowman painting during a paint party led by instructor Brandi Ritter on Jan. 23 at Bloom Studio and Gifts, 2121 Broadway in Cape Girardeau. (ADAM VOGLER)

"We were pleasantly surprised at how popular they became," Ritter said.

For each paint party, Ritter creates an example painting -- usually depicting a seasonal scene -- and Ross posts the information and a photo of the painting on Facebook.

Individuals who want to participate in the class and learn how to create the painting sign up and prepay $25 to $35 per class per person. All supplies are provided. The parties are set up for 10 to 15 people, and participants are encouraged to bring their own drinks and snacks for the two-hour class.

Because of the paint parties, Ross and Ritter agreed business has grown at Bloom. They have regulars who attend the classes, and some, Ritter said, have never held a paintbrush.

"[It's an] excellent way to spend time with people you already know and to meet new people, too, and you get to leave with something fabulous that you made," Ritter said. "And I think everyone, for the most part, is pleasantly surprised with how well it turns out."

Aside from the paint parties, what sets Bloom apart from other boutiques and local shops, Ross believes, is her dedication to sell unique products and willingness to make customers happy, whether it be hosting paint parties for children, offering year-round complimentary gift wrap or knowing a customer's favorite scent.

"I try so hard to make sure I don't have any of the same merchandise [as other boutiques]," Ross said. "So that people are getting unique things when they come here -- that are only found at Bloom in Cape."

When Ross was approached about purchasing Bloom, she was 25 years old. She had worked at the boutique, which sells home décor items, seasonal decorations and bed, bath and baby products, since its opening in 2005, advancing from cashier to general manager.

Gina Azuma works on her snowman painting during a paint party led by instructor Brandi Ritter on Jan. 23 at Bloom Studio and Gifts, 2121 Broadway in Cape Girardeau.

"I had thought there's no way I'm going to be able to do that as young as I am," Ross said.

After graduating from Southeast Missouri State University in 2008 with a degree in human environmental sciences with a focus in interior design, the offer was perfect timing.

"As a store manager in such a small boutique, I couldn't get much higher than what I was doing, here," Ross said. "So I basically was going to have to start looking for something else, and maybe just do this part time."

With the support of her husband and his family, who have owned Ross Furniture more than 30 years, Ross purchased Bloom in February 2011.

"It just kind of fell into place, she said. "It felt like a real God thing."

The "fun, young and vibrant" boutique is frequented by loyal customers and features local artists' creations, Ross said.

"[The previous owner] called it Bloom because it was a place for her to grow as an artist," Ross said. "She also sold local artists-made items, so it was a place for her friends to also grow their businesses."

Evidence of growing businesses can be seen on multicolored walls and shelves, filled with handmade creations including embroidery pieces, stationary, ornaments and tutus.

For more information on Bloom or its paint parties, visit its Facebook page, "Bloom Studio & Gifts."

adowning@semissourian.com

388-3632

Pertinent address:

2121 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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