The sign on the Flowers of Stokes Croft shop is based on how shop fronts in the street would have looked over a century ago. And new owner Connie Reeves is also using a traditional delivery service for her British-grown blooms. Suzanne Savill discovers more about this environmentally friendly florists' shop. Picture: Jon Kent
When the new sign went up above the door of Flowers of Stokes Croft, it was not a modern plastic sign.
Instead, the gold lettering and typeface are reminiscent of the signs that could be seen on shop fronts in this street in the early 1900s.
The sense of nostalgia continues whenever Connie delivers any of her flowers, which fill the tiny premises with a sweet and heady scent.
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For it is not a van that pulls up outside, but an orange cycle with a large metal box at the front.
Connie, 29, says: "Anyone buying flowers from me can do so knowing that they're completely guilt free.
"I do my best to provide British-grown flowers, which I've often grown myself, and they're delivered by courier bike instead of in a van."
The courier is Mick Mack, who set up Velocity Cycle Logistics with the aim of providing a green and affordable delivery option for Bristol businesses.
"The bike is from Denmark, where they use bikes like these in the shipyards for transporting things around the docks.
"I've only been going about three months, and in addition to delivering flowers I've been doing work for local businesses such as printers and food companies.
"I've also had all sorts of requests from individuals, such as from a lady who wanted me to deliver stuff to a friend on the other side of the city because she wasn't able to take it to her."
The flower shop was set up in the summer of 2011 by a friend of Connie's, who then decided to train to become as a social worker.
"We'd been working together and now I've taken over the lease," says Connie.
"It was a really big decision to make as I had to buy out the business from her, but I decided I'd never find out if it would work if I didn't take the risk."
Connie recently installed a traditional awning at the front of the shop, which is brought in and out by a long pole, and had the new sign painted by artist Louise Phillips.
She was responsible for creating 'Doris' one of the most renowned creations of the Wow! Gorillas event to mark the 175th anniversary of Bristol Zoo, and has attended Weston Art College with Connie, with who she also studied art together at Plymouth University.
Louise, 29, who is also a crew member on the Bristol-based sailing ship The Matthew, says: "We decided it would suit the business if the sign was done in the style of the signs that would have been on the shop fronts in Stokes Croft at the turn of the 20th century."
Connie explains her commitment to keeping the air miles and delivery miles of her flowers as low as possible, saying: "I was brought up by my granny, who was a child during the war.
"She was a great one for growing her own - strawberries, anemones, Sweet William - and now I'm growing my own flowers for the shop, in a field at Chelvey Court near Backwell.
"I've been growing lots of spring flowers lately - anemones, tulips, irises, allium - and I'm going to be growing sweet peas, which smell fantastic and the more you cut them the more they come on.
"I also buy from growers in Cornwall, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, and during those times of year when there are very few local flowers available I'll buy Fair Trade flowers.
"I do my best to be an ambassador for British flowers. A lot of people who live around here are very aware about the importance of where things come from."
To Connie, using a cycle service to deliver her flowers and plants around Bristol seemed to be a logical progression of trying to reduce the miles travelled by the flowers she sells as much as possible.
"I'm just starting locally at the moment. I'm concentrating on Bristol and getting well-known here," she says.
For further information on Flowers of Stokes Croft go to www.flowersofstokescroft.com. Velocity Cycle Logistics is at www.lowcarboneconomy.com/profile/velocity_cycle_logistics. To contact Louise Phillips go to http://artistlouisephillips. blogspot.co.uk/