BUSINESS FEATURE: Bentley’s Earthy Accents up for Small Business of the Year

Store nominated for Small Business of the Year by Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce

For a refreshing and peaceful change of pace, check out Bentley’s Earthy Accents – nominated in the ‘Small Business of the Year’ category for this year’s Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce awards.

“I opened Earthy Accents here in Bentley back in July of 2013,” said owner Leslie Pelz, who had studied floral design at Calgary’s Mount Royal College and has also worked in the floral industry for years.

She has also long dreamed of opening up her own floral business eventually.

“When I took floral design, I took it with the intention of one day having a shop,” she said. “Bentley has been my home for 18 years now so it seemed like the right place to do it,” she added.

Pelz said she was humbled to learn of the Chamber’s nomination for ‘Small Business of the Year’. “It’s really good – the recognition is amazing,” she said.

In the meantime, she describes the beauty of flowers and plants as a powerful ‘feel-good’ kind of thing for so many people.

“I provide floral designs for all occasions – weddings, funerals and special events. And then I also do lots of living decor, like potted plants or terrariums or just interesting creations botanically with bark, twigs, moss and the like for example.”

Intricate and colourful arrangements and designs are of course custom-made as well.

“I am independent and will always be independent,” she said. “So everything is really ‘one of a kind’.”

“I’m also pretty passionate about providing Alberta-made or Canadian-made products,” she added of the range of products featured in the attractive store. “I like to support other small business as much as possible, too.”

As to the name, it may not bring images of attractive floral arrangements immediate to mind, but it does speak to her commitment to being eco-friendly. “I think that applies to everything here.”

Meanwhile, from the get-go, feedback from the local community has always been really positive.

“I think people appreciate that I do support other small businesses,” she said. “They also like the eclectic mix of things here, and they appreciate the design aspect to have something different in terms of flowers,” she explained.

Other products featured in the store are a range of delectable Rogers’ Chocolates, many decor items to choose from, unique containers and vases for plants plus an array of candles.

She’s also busy all year long.

“I try to switch things out for the holiday season, and I also have local vendors come in and do pop-up shops and display their goods every once in a while,” she said of the weeks heading into Christmas.

She also does more workshops through the winter months as well, including terrarium and floral classes, for example. “I also try to offer the space to local artists to come in and do workshops as well.”

For Pelz, seeing others grow passionate about plants and flowers and the possibilities of how they can beautify pretty much any setting is part of what inspires her.

“I want to set you up for success. I want you to love plants, so I like to educate people and send them home with the right plants so they do well,” she said. “I think people appreciate that.”

Ultimately, it’s the glory and the wonder of nature that also inspires her continual quest for breaking new grounds in terms of design and arrangement ideas.

“Every flower is different,” she said. “To me, that is so interesting. You can have 20 sunflowers, and every single one has its own characteristics that make it different from the others. The diversity of what our planet provides is amazing.”

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