Susanne Kane Bostrom, owner of Alpine Floral, is surrounded by poinsettias as she stands in the atrium of her store. After 36 years in business at the location, Susanne has decided to close the retail location, but she will continue to sell flowers online and handle orders for many of her longtime customers.

Photo by John F. Russell

Susanne Kane Bostrom, owner of Alpine Floral, is surrounded by poinsettias as she stands in the atrium of her store. After 36 years in business at the location, Susanne has decided to close the retail location, but she will continue to sell flowers online and handle orders for many of her longtime customers.

Steamboat's longest-established florist prepares to start next chapter of career

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Closeout sale

After Dec. 25, Alpine Floral & Atrium will host a closeout sale at its location in the Pine Grove Center. For more information, call 970-879-2682 or visit www.steamboatspringsflowers.com.

— Susanne Kane Bostrom isn't quitting. She's adapting.

Steamboat's longest-established florist recently announced she will close the flower shop that has graced the large atrium of the Pine Grove Center for nearly 30 years.

But when all of the plants are gone by Dec. 31, Bostrom won't shy away from flowers or the loyal customers Alpine Floral & Atrium has catered to for decades.

“Flowers will stay a part of my life,” Bostrom said Wednesday in her store as she took a break from preparing several poinsettias for delivery.

The looming closure of her store also won't prevent her from turning 400 pounds of greenery into centerpieces for the holidays.

Bostrom said she decided to close the store after it was struggling to survive the latest recession. More flowers are being sold today over the Internet, in grocery stores and through mass markets, she said. And thinning wallets mean less room for flowers in the budget.

Bostrom's business survived two recessions before the latest one; however, she said recent changes to the industry made it harder to stay competitive this time around.

“The floral business used to be based on everyday flower sales plus the peaks of holidays,” Bostrom said. “But the peaks and valleys have grown steeper. People have cut back on flowers.”

Bostrom started at Alpine Floral on the same day she arrived in Steamboat Springs in 1975 after hitchhiking from Boulder with just $78 in her backpack.

She joked that she then started to "flirt with every guy in town" on Valentine's Day, make anniversaries special with a unique flower arrangement and create the perfect corsages for proms.

Alpine Floral was started by Roy Borodkin in 1974 in the old Harbor Hotel. Bostrom and her husband, Daryl, became the sole owners of the business in 1984, when the store moved to its current location to accommodate a larger and more diverse set of plants and flowers.

A new direction

Soon, Bostrom will start the next chapter of her career as she prepares flower arrangements for loyal clients from home, wades into social media and establishes a stronger Web presence. She added that she still plans to place her floral designs in weddings and memorial services.

Of course, the florist is nervous about the next chapter. But she's also excited.

“I'm happy with this decision. I'm solid with this decision. Most of my customers are behind me,” Bostrom said as she stood over a scrapbook chronicling the evolution of her flower shop in Steamboat.

Its pages were filled with photos of diverse flower arrangements made at the store and with cards from several clients.

“Mom would have loved the flowers,” a daughter wrote thanking Bostrom for the floral designs at a memorial service.

The florist is planning to add many more memories to the scrapbook.

When Bostrom isn't reinventing her business in the Yampa Valley next year, she hopes to be crossing a few items off her bucket list.

She wants to be tapped as a floral designer in the 2014 Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

And she still hasn't made the trip to Washington's Puget Sound to see where the thousands of daffodils that arrive in Steamboat each year for the Heralds of Hope fundraiser are picked. Bostrom started the fundraiser that benefits Northwest Colorado hospice programs after her father died of pancreatic cancer in 1992.

“It's a great business,” she said about being a florist. “It's hard work. It's a beautiful product, and it changes with every season. Every design I do is different, and the flowers still tell me what to do.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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